Friday 26 June 2020
The Policy & Resources Committee has agreed a new scheme to provide financial support to businesses in the visitor accommodation sector impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 1 July 2020, grants will be made available to eligible hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation providers. Grants will be focussed on those businesses with the greatest financial need. For those that are eligible, two levels of grant will be offered in each category of accommodation, with the highest level reserved for those businesses facing the most challenging financial circumstances.
The level of support available to a business will depend on a number of factors, including trading results over the grant period and the access the business has to alternate funds, including its own reserves.
It is anticipated that most businesses will be eligible for the 'standard' grant, with a small number receiving the 'enhanced' grant.
It is not yet known how long this grant will be required, or exactly how many businesses will be eligible for grants at the two levels, but it is intended that this support will remain available until the end of Q1 2021, and could cost an estimated £6.5m. The grants scheme will remain under continuous review throughout this period.
As previously stated, and because the grants scheme will use a large amount of public funds, the Policy & Resources Committee intends to publish information on businesses who receive support.
The grant scheme approved by the Policy & Resources Committee follows extensive dialogue with industry representatives, including Economic Development's Tourism Recovery Task Force which was specifically set up to ensure a broad range of accommodation providers were able to feedback to government, the Chamber of Commerce and other industry members.
Deputy Lyndon Trott, Vice-President of the Policy & Resources Committee who leads on the financial support measures said:
"Accommodation providers are part of the visitor economy sector that we know is being hit hardest, with virtually no visitors coming to the Bailiwick this season and still a lot of uncertainty ahead. It is right that government looks to continue providing support. And given how varied this sector is, with a huge range in the size of operations, types of accommodation, staff costs and everything else, it was right to take a more detailed, targeted approach to how we provide that support.
The feedback from the sector is incredibly valuable and I want to thank all of those who've engaged with us. It's also shown how varied the views are within the industry on what kind of support, and at what level, is right. We had a real mix of suggestions, and no single preferred option, but we hope the grant system we've agreed proves effective for the sector as a whole."
Deputy Joe Mooney, member of the Committee for Economic Development with responsibility for tourism, said:
"I hope this commitment to continue providing support to accommodation providers will give the sector some additional security at this very uncertain time. Islanders supporting the Staycation Club campaign are doing a wonderful job helping the industry, and anyone who hasn't already, should take a look on club.visitguernsey.com at the huge range of offers. But while that local support helps a lot, clearly it cannot make up for a near-total lack of overnight staying tourists. The additional support from government will provide that bit more to keep these businesses going until the 2021 season."
For more information on the financial support measures available for business, please visit https://covid19.gov.gg/guidance/business