Urgent government inquiry to examine how sector can be supported to reopen

16 April 2020 by
Urgent government inquiry to examine how sector can be supported to reopen

An urgent government inquiry will examine the best ways to support hospitality and tourism businesses to reopen and recover when government health advice allows.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism will examine what measures will be needed to support the two sectors, which are among the most severely damaged by the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

Group chair Steve Double MP said: "Collectively, tourism and hospitality add around £80b to the UK's economy and in normal times employ 3.3 million people.

"These sectors were two of the first to feel the impact of first social distancing and then the lockdown and businesses have been hit hard in every region.

"It is vital that, as the danger of Covid-19 passes, these businesses are able to hit the ground running and return to full strength as rapidly as possible. Ensuring these sectors get back on their feet quickly should be one of the government's top priorities."

Among the areas due to be examined are the right time for reopening, the measures that will be required to ensure safety, business support during the transition period, reengaging supply chains and marketing the two sectors. It aims to publish its findings in the middle of May, ahead of any planned reopening.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: "Hospitality and tourism businesses provide employment, investment and opportunities in every region of the UK. That means that there is no corner of the country which has not seen job losses, shuttered venues and communities anxiously looking to the future.

"Our sector is in a unique position to begin the rebuilding process, both economically and socially, once we emerge and the time is right. This inquiry will focus on how we get restarted rather than necessarily when.

"It is clear we will only be able to recover if the right plan is in place, the government understands the scale of the task and the opportunities it presents, and the correct support is provided – particularly the extension of the job retention scheme to protect jobs and wages."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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