C2C Packhorse joins fellow major operators to urge Government to support UK B&B’s falling through the gaps

 

UPDATE EDIT 4th May 2020

Government has announced additional support. Local authorities are being asked to prioritise businesses that pay Council Tax rather than Business Rates. Additionally, local authorities will be given the discretion to make payments to other business based on economic need.

This will administered through the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund through three levels of grant payments, with a maximum of £25,000. Local authorities will also have the discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000.

Mark Sandamas, Owner and Director of Coast to Coast Packhorse: “It is great to see that the Chancellor and his colleagues in government recognised this gap in the existing support measures and moved quickly to respond soon after we submitted the letter signed by all the main Adventure and Tour Operators. We are very pleased that our key Bed and Breakfast partners should now be able to obtain similar financial support as other businesses, which we hope will now help them through the lockdown and be able and ready to welcome guests when permissible.”

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Major outdoor adventure and tour operators join forces to urge Government to support the UK’s Bed & Breakfast establishments.

In light of the devastating consequences to the UK’s economy and businesses caused by the CoVid-19 virus, the UK’s leading outdoor adventure and tour operators have written to Government in Support of Bed & Breakfasts who have fallen between the gaps.

The reason for many B’&B’s falling between the gaps is believed to be due to them having followed their local authorities advice to pay council tax instead of business rates, and are therefore not eligible for any of the business support packages announced by the chancellor to date.

The collective of major adventure tour operators have joined forces to stand up for their mostly micro and small partners to ensure sufficient support.

The letter reads:

“Dear Chancellor,

I am writing to you on behalf of a group of UK outdoor adventure tour operators put into a challenging position by the Coronavirus pandemic, and we want to extend our thanks for the support provided by the government in this difficult time.

We believe that we will be able to weather the storm and bounce back once travel restrictions lift – whether that is later this year or in 2021.

Unfortunately, the financial tools provided to us and our hard work to stay afloat will be utterly wasted if a significant number of the small accommodation suppliers we work with do not make it through the year.

Our business models depend on them entirely, and we have reason to believe that many are in trouble. Obviously, they are unable to provide any rooms at all right now, and there is evidence that the existing package of support misses the mark for a very substantial number of accommodation providers.

According to the Bed and Breakfast Association, roughly 51% of their members pay council tax (often on the advice of their local authorities) rather than business rates, making them ineligible for tourism grants. Those on council tax employ no staff, meaning furlough support is not applicable. Their profits are typically not large enough to sustain them through a prolonged and unexpected period of enforced closure.

Lastly, many have business mortgages, meaning that mortgage holidays are not always available.

We have conducted our own research into this situation, and out of 283 accommodation providers we have been able to survey on very short notice, 61.5% inform us that they pay council tax, rather than business rates.

92.5% of those paying council tax do not believe they have received adequate support to keep their business operating. This is of enormous concern to us.

If this situation continues, many of these accommodation providers will go bust, and we believe that the tourism sector of the United Kingdom will suffer significantly from the loss of its traditional bed and breakfast accommodations. We know for a fact that businesses like ours will struggle to continue trading without them.

We ask therefore that you extend current provisions to B&Bs paying council tax, and carry out further investigation into this industry to offer further support where needed.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is a keen advocate of the Coast to Coast and has actively supported the campaign to have the Coast to Coast designated as a National Trail. This includes being responsible for getting this into the current government’s manifesto.

He has been in recent contact with the iconic trail’s leading operator, Mark Sandamas, Director at Coast to Coast Packhorse, who has been assured that the chancellor is concerned about the impact of the restrictions and that he wants to help as much as possible.

Mark Sandamas, director at Coast to Coast Packhorse states:

“Within these turbulent times, it is more key than ever to protect the all-important assets we have within the UK, as these will be the ones that will enable recovery.

C2C Packhorse alone, supports thousands of bed nights through our local accommodation partners here on the Coast to Coast trail. An average of 50% of this customer base is international clientele from the likes of Australia and USA and 99% from outside of the area (Cumbria).

Collectively, us adventure outdoor holiday and tour operators bring millions of pounds into the local economy for the Coast 2 Coast alone through our local accommodation and other micro and small partners, now think of the UK as a whole.

The support the government has given will help us weather the storm and bounce back once travel restrictions ease. We hope that will also be the case for all other businesses and in particular our accommodation partners.”

 

The letter, asking for immediate intervention, was drafted by Alex Jenks at Contours and Mark, and co-signed by a collective of fellow major tour operators -who we would like to extend a special thanks to: Peter Corson, Director of Trailbrakes Ltd; Neil Lapping, Founder & CEO of Macs Adventure Ltd; William Ainslie, Director of Discovery Travel Holidays Ltd; Karen Simons, Director of Contours Holidays Ltd; Tali Emdin, Manager at Sherpa Expeditions; Damon Willcox, Director of Encounter Walking Holidays Ltd; Andy Gabe, Director of Absolute Escapes; Dean & Corrinna Halsall, Directors of Northwestwalks Walking Holidays

About the Coast to Coast walk: England’s 192-mile Coast to Coast walk, first designed by Alfred Wainwright, begins on the coast of Cumbria at St Bees, and ends on the North Yorkshire Coast at Robin Hood’s Bay. It passes through three National Parks: the idyllic Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. It is not a walk along the Coast but a walk from one side of England to the other and is said to be an experience of a lifetime.

About Coast to Coast Packhorse: At Coast to Coast Packhorse we specialise in walking, cycling and running vacations. Our vacations exclusively follow the stunning Coast to Coast route. https://www.c2cpackhorse.co.uk


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