Chancellor quizzed by MPs over hospitality sector concerns

Westcountry MPs have pressed Chancellor Rishi Sunak to recognise the continuing problems of the hospitality sector as furlough comes to an end and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt in the economy.

[Simon Jupp and Neil Parish seem to have kept their heads down – Owl]

Philip Bowern 

Central Devon MP and chairman of the Treasury Select Committee Mel Stride asked the Chancellor in a Commons question whether further targeted support was likely to be forthcoming for businesses after the end of October when furlough draws to a close.

Mr Stride said: “(Rishi Sunak) has done a tremendous amount to support jobs in our country.

“But, would he agree with me that there will be many thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of jobs, which are going to be viable after COVID is dealt with but will not make it unless they are provided with further targeted support after the end of October?”

Mr Sunak told Mr Stride: “He is right that businesses do need support which is why many of the interventions we have put in place last through to next year – for example the business rates holidays and indeed our support for the economy and jobs through initiatives like our stamp duty cut to catalyse the housing market.

“Throughout this crisis I’ve not hesitated to act in creative and effective ways to support jobs and employment and will continue to do so.”

Meanwhile, St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double won a pledge from the Treasury that it would keep under review the idea of running a winter version of the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme.

Mr Double said: “August has been incredibly busy in Cornwall but we do face a big challenge as we head into winter for the hospitality sector.

“So could I ask (Rishi Sunak) if he would consider a similar sort of scheme to be run at some point during the winter to help as many businesses as possible survive the winter and be here for next summer?”

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman replied: “I would say that there is this wider package… of course the Treasury keeps all these measures under review… but it is a pretty formidable combination of VAT reduction, business rates relief and of course billions in tax deferrals and loans.”


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