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Lex Butler, HBAA Chair: comment issued in regard to PM's recent announcement

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"Covid 19 and lockdown have been a hammer blow to business events, meetings and accommodation agencies, venues and suppliers, basically for the whole sector. By reducing social distancing to one metre plus and providing guidelines, the Government has wrapped the hammer in plastic.

“However, while we welcome the relaxing of this distance, damage has been done. The development of one metre plus social distancing makes meetings and events just about viable once they are able to take place; keeping it at two metres they would not have been. The requirement for everyone to identify themselves as they arrive is an additional safety measure and giving everyone the confidence to visit venues and meet again safely is the immediate priority for our industry.

“Now, after chasing these guidelines for many weeks, the industry has less than two weeks to put the exact requirements in place. It’s a challenge but one we’re pleased to have at last.

“Even so, many thousands of people in the business events, accommodation and meetings industry will still be made redundant in the coming days, weeks and months. The industry still needs extra financial support  - a special extension of the furlough scheme, continuing business rates relief, commercial rent relief, a delay in payment of Corporation Tax and a reduction in VAT on accommodation and meetings packages  - until Spring 2021 to keep businesses alive when, we hope, the hammer blows will stop and business will hopefully return.”