Thank you for contacting me about tourism and hospitality on the Isle of Wight.
I applied to take part in the Westminster Hall debate in January 2021, however, I was not called to participate.
Tourism and Hospitality play an important role within Island life and I share your concerns.
Last year, I wrote to the Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston MP, asking that more action be taken to help the UK holiday sector. I believe that more needs to be done to help tourism and hospitality businesses. I made a number of suggestions to him following meetings with a wide range of Island businesses, many of which had a UK-wide relevance, for example retaining the VAT rate of 5% past March 2021 and extending business rates relief periods. I would like to see this VAT relief extended.
In addition, I am pushing the Government to help provide insurance for festivals which are an important part of Island life, as well as important to our economy.
I support a clear Government announcement about coming out of lockdown, although agree that this must be gradual.
I am pleased that local businesses have been able to access the grants and schemes which have been and are currently available, for example, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. I would urge any businesses having difficulty accessing funding to contact me. I also welcome the reduction of VAT on tourism and hospitality businesses to 5% and am keen to hold further discussions following the Brexit negotiations.
I have put forward the case to Government ministers for clear and transparent guidelines for businesses re-opening and hope that we can all return to a ‘new normal’ as soon as possible in 2021.