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States to spend millions more supporting hotels

States to spend millions more supporting hotels

Friday 16 October 2020

States to spend millions more supporting hotels


The States will plough another £8m of public money into supporting local hotels and other visitor accommodation businesses, who have now been promised financial help until March 2021.

Policy & Resources has agreed on the final details of the financial support measures for the businesses who have been hit the hardest by covid-19, due to the ongoing travel restrictions and lack of tourists.

The support scheme has been revised following an independent report carried out by Offshore Group, who suggested some aspects which could be improved.

As part of the updated scheme, visitor accommodation businesses will be able to choose whether they would like to receive support through the payroll system or through the new grant scheme.

The grant scheme will give businesses differing levels of support, depending on how many rooms or unis they have and the type of accommodation they offer.

star rating 5 star

Pictured: The grants will be awarded in accordance with star rating categories.

The funds will be awarded in line with the star rating categories, meaning the support mechanism will favour hotels with higher ratings. 

Meanwhile, the payroll co-funding will remain set at 80% of minimum wage as a standard package, and 100% at the enhanced level for eligible businesses that have demonstrated a clear need for the extra support.

"While it has taken a while longer than expected to finalise and communicate the final support package, we felt it important to wait until the final report from Offshore had been received and taken into account in amending the final package," Deputy Lyndon Trott, who has taken the lead on covid-19 financial support measures.

"We've worked hard to finalise the support for visitor accommodation businesses and I hope the availability of options and the increased levels of funding we're providing will give them confidence for the coming months.

"We recognise that further challenging months may lie ahead beyond this period and we will continue to monitor the situation, liaise with the industry and take any appropriate further steps to respond to the changing picture."

 Deputy Lyndon Trott

Pictured: Deputy Lyndon Trott has chief political responsibility for the covid-19 financial support scheme.

Together with the payroll support given to visitor accommodation sectors during lockdown, the States expects to pay out a total of £11.8m to the sector by March next year.

This amounts to 23% of the overall business support measures and is estimated to cover between 55% and 60% of the sector’s total losses during this period.

"We had previously made it clear that it was simply not feasible to expect the taxpayer to fund all the industry losses but this enhanced package, together with any exceptional cases to be looked at individually, is fully expected to achieve the primary aim of all viable businesses being able to resume trading in reasonable shape upon the onset of the 2021 season," Deputy Trott added.

"It is taxpayers' money that we are using to help these businesses and we must use it carefully and proportionately. But we also know how important these businesses are to the tourism industry and to other industries more widely, as well as to our quality of life in Guernsey, such that islanders will no doubt support a reasonable level of funding for them."

To read the Offshore Group's report in full, click HERE.

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