Inland Waterways: Coronavirus

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support (a) heritage and (b) tourism on the inland waterways during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

We recognise that waterways businesses have been severely impacted by the current crisis. My Department will continue to work closely with the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to assess how we can most effectively support heritage and tourism on inland waterways following COVID-19.

Waterways businesses and workers can access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme. The £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following COVID-19.

Through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and its working groups, we have developed COVID-secure guidance which will help heritage and tourism businesses reopen safely.

VisitBritain have also introduced an industry standard quality mark that tourism businesses - including those associated with waterways - can acquire if they are compliant with COVID-secure guidance.

The £45m Discover England Fund encourages visitors to enjoy the West Midlands’ diverse waterways, including the Trent & Mersey Canal in Lichfield.

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