Caravan Industry: Hull and East Riding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:04 pm on 15th June 2020.

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Photo of Emma Hardy Emma Hardy Shadow Minister (Education) 9:04 pm, 15th June 2020

As many Members will know, Hull is the capital of caravan manufacturing in the UK, and the Hull MPs have a strong tradition of standing up for the sector. My hon. Friend Dame Diana Johnson was instrumental in protecting the industry after the global financial crash in 2008. She was joined by my hon. Friend Karl Turner in the fight against the caravan tax under the coalition Government. I take up the baton with my Hull colleagues today to ask the Government to act to protect this vital industry.

I first wrote to the Government about the challenges facing the caravan industry in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister on 20 May, jointly with my hon. Friends the Members for Kingston upon Hull North and for Kingston upon Hull East. In it, we asked that caravan dealerships be opened at the same time as car dealerships and that, in line with the then current guidance for estate agents and house viewings, caravan parks should also be allowed to open for sales and meetings. I am happy to say that those asks were met by the Government, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for heeding the calls from the industry and acting upon them.

Like other businesses across the country, caravan manufacturers have benefited from the Government’s economic support measures, including the job retention scheme and the business interruption loan scheme. Unfortunately, all those measures have not been enough to alleviate sufficiently the pressure on the industry, and without further intervention, the future is stark. The position of caravan manufacturers sets them apart from others in the manufacturing sector, as they are entirely dependent on trade in the leisure and tourism sector.