Caravan Industry: Hull and East Riding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:28 pm on 15th June 2020.

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Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 9:28 pm, 15th June 2020

The hon. Lady repeats powerfully the point that she made in her excellent speech, but the furlough scheme is only one of the interventions that we are making across the economy. As I said, we review all our interventions because, as she will know, the profile of interventions is very different when we are asking people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives, and therefore businesses are closing and furloughing people. The profile of interventions as we come out will be different, which is why we have reviewed them all and continue to do so, and why we continue to stay close to the industry as well. I reassure her of that.

On dealerships, which the hon. Lady mentioned in her speech, the House will know that we reopened them on 1 June to support them to get back on their feet. While residential caravan parks have remained open throughout the lockdown period, holiday parks have been closed in line with the wider restrictions on overnight stays for leisure purposes. Our ambition is to reopen caravan parks in step 3 of the Government’s recovery strategy. All decisions on reopening will, of course, be based on the latest scientific evidence and public health assessment. The Government have engaged very closely with the holiday and home parks sector to prepare guidance, as we have done with all other sectors. It was great to see non-essential retail open today, with so many wonderful stores in Stratford-on-Avon and around the country having such wonderful vibrant window displays and, of course, applying all the safe working practices. Hopefully, this will allow the sector to reopen safely and as quickly as possible.

On business rates relief, an important point, the Government have provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through the rate relief system given that covid had such a direct and acute impact on them. It is worth reminding colleagues that it is up to the local authority to determine eligibility for relief, having regard to guidance issued by the Government. Local authorities have the power, therefore, to offer business rates discounts beyond the pre-defined reliefs at their discretion. I have spoken to, I think, 69 chief executives of local authorities. Many of my colleagues in the Department have been making phone calls to talk directly to them about the discretionary funds available to them. Other businesses affected by covid-19 that are not eligible for business rate relief, such as caravan and leisure vehicle manufacturers, will benefit from the wider business and employment support packages that I have set out.