Tourism group welcomes additional support for Northumberland B&B owners

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Bed and breakfast establishments suffering during the coronavirus lockdown are to be made eligible for extra support.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced that up to £617million will be available, via local authorities, to give councils flexibility in awarding grants to businesses.

Previously, grants had been awarded to businesses based on their rateable value but many Northumberland B&Bs which pay council tax instead had been ineligible.

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Harvest Harris-Jones, chairman of the North Northumberland Tourism Association (NNTA), said: “The NNTA are really pleased that this extra support has been made available and hope that it can be delivered quickly to those businesses who need it.

Bamburgh Castle and members of the North Northumberland Tourism Association.Bamburgh Castle and members of the North Northumberland Tourism Association.
Bamburgh Castle and members of the North Northumberland Tourism Association.

“We all need to work together to beat COVID 19 and also to be able to ensure that when the tourism industry can reopen we are able to provide a good visitor experience as safely as possible and help to bring some of this important income back into the region.

“It is likely that the UK tourism industry for the foreseeable future will be really important as overseas travel will be rightly restricted to essential journeys and tourism businesses need to be able to look and plan ahead so that they are ready to welcome visitors again in the future.”

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan also welcomed the news, having been contacted by a large number of B&B owners.

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She said: “Northumberland County Council has done a great job in ensuring these grants reach the businesses who need them, however there are many businesses, not least B&B owners, who have been forced to close due to the coronavirus crisis, who are not eligible

“I have been in discussion with my Cabinet colleagues for many weeks, raising the issues faced by our local B&B owners. I am pleased they have managed to devise a scheme that can ensure these businesses can source help as we navigate this crisis.”

“I am pleased my colleagues have listened and have not forgotten this vital part of our tourism industry.”

Allocations for the scheme by local authority will be available later this week.

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