MP for North East Derbyshire Lee Rowley and Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham met with Steve Perez, who runs the Casa hotel in Chesterfield and the Red Lion at Peak Edge, and Graham Evans representing Parkdean Resorts.
The round-table session was chaired by Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, and was attended by Jo Dilley, Chief Executive of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire and representatives from Derbyshire County Council.
The group discussed the potential impact of COVID-19 on Derbyshire’s visitor economy which is facing an estimated loss of £212 million this year from business, such as accommodation providers, food and drink and the entertainment sector. Based on the Office for Budget Responsibility scenarios, Derbyshire’s wider economy could face total losses of £1.8 billion or more over 2020. 86% of Derbyshire’s businesses are micro and small businesses and many have experienced challenges as a result of the pandemic. Areas of focus included licencing hours under a return to tiered restrictions and the benefits of extending the VAT rate change past January next year.
The round-table members resolved to continue to work with the Government on the impact of pandemic restrictions on tourism businesses and measures that could support their survival and recovery. They also agreed to continue to help local companies to understand and access the support that is on offer to them.
Councillor Barry Lewis said that political leaders, businesses and the public sector working together had a real opportunity to help Derbyshire recover.
“We want to make sure that Derbyshire experiences a bounce out of the pandemic in terms of economic recovery, rather than a slow return which could see many of our tourism businesses struggle to survive.
“The support the Government has given to businesses goes a long way but it is certainly the case that our businesses who rely on visitors and people going out – our restaurants, hotels, holiday parks and tourist attractions to name a few – have been hard hit. There is much we can do together as the voice of Derbyshire to work with Government to help our visitor economy recover.”
Pauline Latham MP said:
“Derbyshire’s tourism sector generated £2.3 billion for the local economy in 2019, and supports jobs directly and indirectly, particularly in hospitality. Focusing on returning employment in the tourism sector to pre-Covid levels should therefore be a priority for the county’s general economic recovery from the pandemic.
“The Kick-starting Tourism Package has already assisted, and I shall ask the Government to consider extending certain measures, such as the VAT reduction for hospitality, accommodation, and attractions, to encourage consumers to visit sites in Derbyshire and support the local economy.”
Lee Rowley MP said:
“We know this is a really difficult time for the tourism and hospitality sectors in Derbyshire and, as MPs, we are keen to help as much as we can and feedback to Government what is happening on the ground. We are in for a challenging few months but, with the continuing commitment of everyone and supported by the Government’s package of help, we will get through it together.”
The findings from the round-table are feeding into Derbyshire’s rescue, recovery and renewal economic plan which is led by the county council and supported by organisations across the county.