Whoa! Averaging 66,000 Unique Weekly Readers! 

Local News

MLA Claire Sugden appeals for financial support for guesthouses, B&Bs and other tourism businesses that are still falling through the cracks of the government grant system

1 Mins read
Claire Sugden
Claire Sugden

EAST Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has again appealed for financial support for guesthouses, B&Bs and other tourism businesses that are still falling through the cracks of the government grant system.

She first highlighted to economy minister Diane Dodds that businesses not eligible for the government’s £10,000 and £25,000 grants – or rate-relief – at an Assembly committee meeting in May. The minister subsequently announced the creation of a micro-business hardship fund, but many tourist businesses remain unable to meet the criteria for the grants.

“I represent a constituency reliant on tourism and without support many of these micro-businesses will not survive,” Ms Sugden said.

“Luxury guesthouses ad B&Bs have emerged to fill the gap in hotel numbers, particularly since the 2019 Open was held in Portrush. There are businesses that haven’t received a penny.

“They were hopeful when the Hardship Fund was announced as it was understood the intention of this fund was to support businesses like theirs, but subsequently very disappointed when eligibility criteria was published which did not include them.”

Most guesthouses and B&Bs were operated out of people’s homes, so, as domestic ratepayers they were not eligible for the business rate relief scheme. There remained, however, an opportunity for them to be included in the scheme, Ms Sugden said.
“The Executive needs to support these businesses so they can continue operating and reopen safely,” she said.

Many tourism-related businesses employed staff seasonally and through agencies. The Hardship Fund states that businesses that employ agency staff are not eligible.

“I believe there is an opportunity through the June Monitoring Round to extend the Hardship Fund and 12 months’ rates relief to the above businesses and ask you to bid for resources on their behalf,” she asked the ministers for the economy and finance.
Tourist accommodation, restaurants and bars are now allowed to open from July 3. Ms Sugden welcomed the move, saying it made sense to open businesses such as restaurants alongside tourist accommodation.

“People won’t be travelling abroad as much this summer so it makes sense to offer tourists the best holiday experience we can – as long as it is done safely and with clear guidance,” said Ms Sugden.

“We need to reclaim as much of the summer as possible for those businesses who are reliant on the season to survive.”

Digital Editorial Team
12661 posts

About author
An article that is attributed to the Causeway Coast Community Team has either involved multiple authors, written by a contributor or the main body of content is from a press release. Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Causeway Coast Community? Email us - [email protected]
Articles
Related posts
Local News

BBC Spotlight : Selling Off The Causeway Coast

1 Mins read
BBC Spotlight is set to televise an investigation carried out by reporter Conor Spackman surrounding the selling of land on the Causeway…
Local News

Man used uninsured motorbike to get to 'dole office after missing bus'

1 Mins read
A Cushendall man caught using a motorbike without insurance at Parkway in Ballymena said he was using it to get to the…
Local News

Scene is set for major film production at Ballintoy

1 Mins read
Scenes for the adventure/fantasy film Dungeons & Dragons, set to be released in the US in March of 2023 will be filmed…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *