Oral Answers to Questions

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Excerpts
Thursday 9th July 2020

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Dr Neil Hudson Portrait Dr Neil Hudson (Penrith and The Border) (Con) - Hansard

What steps his Department is taking to help the tourism sector reopen safely as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased. [904439]

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Portrait Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con) - Hansard

What steps his Department is taking to help the tourism sector reopen safely as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased. [904456]

Nigel Huddleston Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Nigel Huddleston) - Hansard

The tourism sector has been severely impacted by this crisis, and we are working closely with the sector to get it back on its feet, including developing covid-secure reopening guidance for tourism businesses. VisitBritain has introduced an industry-standard quality mark called “We’re Good to Go”, which businesses can use if they meet covid-secure guidelines, and it has had over 20,000 applications already. The new £10 million kick-start tourism package gives small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses.

Break in Debate

Nigel Huddleston Portrait Nigel Huddleston - Hansard

I fully agree with my hon. Friend. Tourism and hospitality businesses right across the country have invested an incredible amount of time and energy in getting ready to reopen. Tourism is vital to our economy. I, too, was delighted to see the sector take its first steps towards reopening last weekend and to hear the announcement yesterday of a cut in VAT. Earlier this week I participated in a roundtable organised by Cumbria Tourism, which I know he has been working closely with. I will continue to monitor the situation and engage closely with business.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Portrait Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown - Hansard

My hon. Friend will know from his visit to the Cotswolds last Saturday how important tourism is. In particular, the arts are very important. The Barn theatre in Cirencester is a relatively new and highly innovative theatre that has done an awful lot during the covid period to keep people informed through social media about the Government guidelines. Will he ensure that that theatre and other small theatres like it get their fair share of the £1.5 billion for theatres and the arts?

Nigel Huddleston Portrait Nigel Huddleston - Hansard

I would like to thank the Barn theatre for all that it has done to help the local community during the coronavirus crisis. Indeed, I thank tourism, leisure and arts businesses across the country, and it was a pleasure to visit some of them in my hon. Friend’s constituency last weekend. I can confirm that the purpose of the £1.57 billion cultural support fund is to support organisations across the cultural sector right across the country, including those that do not have a history of receiving public funding. More information on the eligibility criteria and application process will come by the end of this month, and I encourage the Barn theatre to apply.