Inland Waterways: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th July 2020.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the letter of 23 March 2020 to his Department from British Marine, Broads Authority and Canal & River Trust and subsequent correspondence, what steps he is taking to allocate £20 million covid-19 funding to support waterway businesses; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government has provided wide-ranging financial support across the whole economy, particularly focusing on small and medium-sized businesses. These include several loan schemes, such as: the 100% Government-guaranteed Bounce Back Loan; support for self-employed people; the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme; and most recently a £10 million tourism ‘kick-start’ package to help small businesses in our tourist destinations.

At this stage there is no specific sector support for the waterways, although we are keeping all decisions under review. Further significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions from 4 July should allow many waterways businesses to reopen to take advantage of coming summer demand.

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