Harrogate MP praises Chancellor Rishi Sunak's new economic package as "boost for the town's hospitality sector"

Harrogate's MP says Chancellor Rishi Sunak's new economic support package for Britain would provide a vital boost to the town's hospitality sector in the crucial months to come.

Thursday, 24th September 2020, 5:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th September 2020, 5:12 pm
Harrogate and Knaresborough, MP Andrew Jones: "I am particularly pleased that the Chancellor has sought to protect jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors."

The most eye-catching part of the new Jobs Support Scheme announged in response to the coronavirus pandemic developing and changing will allow businesses to keep employees in employment while reducing their hours to at least a third of their normal hours.

But bespoke support for hospitality and tourism was also revealed, which will be key for many businesses in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

These businesses will see their VAT rate stay at five per cent until March 31, 2021 thanks to an extension by the Chancellor.

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Harrogate and Knaresborough, MP Andrew Jones said: "I am particularly pleased that the Chancellor has sought to protect jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors further by retaining the lower 5 per cent VAT rate until the end of March.

"These sectors are important to Harrogate and Knaresborough, and we need them to be strong in the coming months as that helps our whole area.”

In the Chancellor's new support package to protect jobs, for the hours not worked, the cost would be split three ways, with the Government, the employer and employee sharing the cost, but the employee’s job is protected.

Self-employed people will continue to be able to access Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

Businesses with government-backed loans, will also now be able to extend their repayment period to ten years in order to assist their cashflow.

The deadline to apply for these loans has been extended to the end of this year.

VAT bills that had been due to be paid in March, delayed from this year, will be spread over 11 smaller payments with no interest payable.

Mr Jones said: “Our country is not facing the economy of March, when we were at the height of the strict lockdown.

"As the economic situation changes and the need changes, the support package evolves.

"I welcome the package announced today, and said so in the House of Commons. Business groups have welcomed it too."

The MP reiterated his support of all the assistance provided by the Government to individuals and businesses throughout the coronavirus pandemic to date.

In Harrogate, Knaresborough, Boroughbridge and the surrounding villages, the Government had provided the following support since lockdown in late March:

Funding 136,000 meals through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to the cost of £931,000.

Paid the wages of 15,800 employees across the constituency.

Assisted 3,900 self-employed people.

Guaranteed 1,794 bounce bank loans worth £50.7 million.

Guaranteed another 94 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans worth £22.1 million.

Provided vital business grants to help keep businesses afloat totalling £28.9 million.

In addition there had been tax deferrals to help businesses with cash flow.