Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has welcomed the Chancellor’s measures to boost tourism and hospitality across the UK, but said they will only be of benefit in Wales if the Welsh Government opens up restaurants, pubs, cafés and indoor attractions by no later than 19 July.
On Wednesday as part of his Summer Economic Update to kickstart the economy post-coronavirus, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a series of measures to help tourism and hospitality businesses recover.
These include a cut in VAT for hospitality, accommodation and attraction businesses from 20 per cent to 5 percent for six months, and a new voucher scheme to encourage people to support local restaurants throughout August.
However, businesses in Wales will miss out unless the Welsh Government allows them to reopen soon.
James raised the matter with the Chancellor in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“The tourism and hospitality sector right across the UK will thoroughly welcome my right hon. Friend’s announcements today, but the sector in my constituency will benefit only if it is allowed to open, so will he endorse the call by Jim Jones, the Chief Executive of North Wales Tourism, for the Welsh Government to open up restaurants, pubs, cafés and indoor attractions by no later than 19 July?”
In his reply the Chancellor spoke of the importance of tourism to Wales’s economy and said “In fact, it may well be more reliant on tourism than any other part of the UK”.
He added: “So I fully understand and sympathise with his desire to get his local tourism businesses open, ready for business and ready to ensure that we can all enjoy the summer safely in Wales.”
Speaking afterwards, James said:
“We should not underestimate how difficult recent months have been for hospitality and tourism businesses in the Vale of Clwyd. Now that the virus is coming under control, we must turn our attention to protecting jobs.
“375 businesses in the Vale of Clwyd could stand to benefit from the cut in VAT, while 210 businesses could benefit from ‘The Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. Many will also benefit from the £1,000 return from furlough scheme. However unless the Welsh Government allows them to open up soon, they will miss out.
“I therefore urge the First Minister to open our cafes, pubs and restaurants before July 19th and in time for them to benefit from the ‘The Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. This will entitle everyone to a discount of up to 50 per cent on their meal, with businesses able to claim the money back from the Government, which will be paid in five working days.
“This fantastic new voucher scheme, along with the cut in VAT, is the much-needed lifeline many businesses in North Wales have been calling for and I hope people in the Vale of Clwyd will take advantage of it and support our businesses.”