Government announces £10million for small businesses to kickstart tourism

Communities that depend on tourism will receive a major boost from a new £10million Kick-starting Tourism Package, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP has today (Friday, July 3) announced.

Speaking at the Local Government Association’s annual conference, Minister Clarke confirmed the new funding will be distributed to communities immediately to kick start tourism in time for the summer as part of the Government’s drive to boost the recovery of the economy

This is the latest package of support for economic recovery following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the “New Deal” earlier this week, which will bring forward £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and economic recovery.

The £10m Kick-starting Tourism Package, will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses can use the funding to pay for specialist professional advice such as HR, legal or financial expertise, to adopt new technology and online systems or to purchase new equipment. 100 per cent of the money will come from government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially.

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said: “When the Prime Minister announced the New Deal, he made it clear that the Government is determined to change the country for the better, uniting and levelling up our regions.

“Kick-starting domestic tourism will be key to our economic recovery and that is why I am delighted to announce £10million in new funding for small businesses in tourist destinations, bringing jobs, investment, and financial support to the communities who need it the most.”

Many areas across the country have experienced a significant fall in tourist and visitor numbers in recent months. The initiative will help ensure that tourist hot-spots are firmly open for business this summer.

In his speech at the Local Government Association Conference, the Minister also paid tribute to local leaders and frontline workers for their “tireless efforts” in responding to and tackling Coronavirus. He also confirmed the Government would publish its Devolution White Paper this autumn.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Our tourism sector is hugely important - creating jobs, supporting businesses and driving local economies in villages, towns and cities across the country.

“It is vital that we help the sector bounce back and give it the platform to recover when it reopens from tomorrow.

“This fund will help many small businesses in tourism destinations and with the infrastructure investment brought forward will provide a further boost for jobs and growth.”

Today’s funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) builds on the success of the Government’s £32m ERDF investments in tourism-boosting projects across the country that are providing benefits in local areas now.

Live projects include £1 million to support coastal improvements in Cornwall and £4.2 million to help the Lake District meet its low carbon ambitions.

Minister Clarke has also confirmed that over £50 million ERDF funding for shovel-ready infrastructure projects will now be accelerated and distributed later in the summer and autumn.

The funding is for projects already in development which will boost local economies and visitor numbers, create jobs and promote investment.

Today’s announcement forms part of a comprehensive package of support for businesses and workers during the economic emergency including:

• Earlier this week the Prime Minister announced £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery, including £900m for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as £96m to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year. This will provide all 101 towns selected for town deals with £500k-£1m to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets, and transport

• The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where small and large employers are eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month, backdated to 1 March. The scheme will continue until end of October 2020.

• £330 billion worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses including a new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000 available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

• Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

• A deferral of the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June 2020 – representing a £30 billion injection into the economy.

• A £12.3 billion package for local authorities to deliver grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

• New temporary measures to safeguard the UK high street against aggressive debt recovery actions during the coronavirus pandemic.

• The High Streets Task Force has been offering advice, online resources and support to place leaders to take action now and build the capacity for recovery and longer-term transformation.

• The £50m Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.

• As the country to the next stage of the recovery from Covid-19, the government is returning to its central mission to level up the nation through programmes like the £3.6 billion Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund. With 100 places across England working on Towns Deals of up to £25m each the Fund will play an important part in the kick-starting of our economic recovery and levelling up the regions.