Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a much-needed boost for tourism and hospitality businesses in the South West – including the Burnham-On-Sea area – as part of his Summer Economic Update to kickstart the economy post-Coronavirus.
The measures will see VAT for hospitality, accommodation and attraction businesses cut from 20% to 5% for six months.
The move is designed to support the sectors that have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis, helping businesses to recover and boosting the number of jobs across the country.
Up to 29,815 businesses could stand to benefit from the measures in the South West including 705 businesses in the Wells constituency which includes the Burnham-On-Sea area.
MPs across the South West have also urged local people to eat out to help out, following the announcement that the government will pay for up to 50% of people’s meals out at restaurants, pubs and cafes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August.
The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme will entitle everyone to a discount of up to 50% on their meal, up to a maximum of £10 per person.
Businesses can claim the money back from the government, which will be paid in five working days. Up to 15,340 businesses in the South West could benefit from the move – including 380 businesses in the Wells constituency.
The government will also pay firms a £1,000 bonus for every staff member kept on for three months when the furlough scheme ends in October.
The chancellor warned in a speech to MPs announcing the plans that “hardship lies ahead”, but vowed no-one will be left “without hope”.
Labour said the chancellor’s plans did not go far enough and the job retention money should be better targeted to prevent it going to firms that were already planning to bring staff back. “We were promised a ‘New Deal’, but what we got was a ‘Meal Deal’,” a party spokesman added.