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Guernsey accommodation sector grant details announced

Final details of the financial support measures for visitor accommodation businesses from October 2020 to March 2021 have been agreed by Guernsey's Policy & Resources Committee.

16 October 2020

The final details of the financial support measures for visitor accommodation businesses
from October 2020 to March 2021 have been agreed by Guernsey's Policy & Resources Committee.

The cost of providing support to this sector will increase beyond previous estimates as a result of the reassessment of grant levels, the introduction of star rating awards and the offer of two options for businesses to choose their means of support. This will see the overall estimated cost of providing support to this sector, for the 9 months of July 2020 to March 2021, rise from £6.5m to £8.0m. This together with payroll support paid in the March – June 2020 period amounts to total support of £11.8m which accounts for around 23% of the overall business support measures covering all sectors across the Bailiwick of Guernsey. 

The Committee is also publishing the independent report carried out by Offshore Group
which has informed the final support measures it is providing to visitor accommodation
businesses, which can be found here. The report concludes that, while much of the
preparation and analysis undertaken to date has been valid, there are aspects that can be
improved. The findings have been taken on board and are reflected in the support measures announced.

The main features of the revised scheme are:

  • Visitor accommodation businesses will have the option to receive support either
    through a payroll scheme or through the new grant scheme.
  • The grant scheme gives visitor accommodation businesses a level of support per
    room / per unit, depending on the type of accommodation they provide.

  • Grants will now be awarded according to star rating categories in recognition of the
    differing cost challenges faced by different businesses within the overall sector.

  • Grant levels have been enhanced in a number of areas for each of the sectors
    (Hotels, Self-catering and Guest Accommodation) with only a very small number of
    Two Star Hotels seeing a decrease in the original grant levels announced, which is a
    reflection of the further analysis undertaken, and sub-sector needs.

  • The level of funding for payroll co-funding will be set at 80% of minimum wage as
    the standard package and 100% at the enhanced level for eligible businesses that
    have demonstrated a clear need. Existing qualifying turnover thresholds will not
    apply in this case and access to the scheme will be automatic if selected over the
    grant scheme.

Full details of the revised scheme can be found here.

Deputy Lyndon Trott, Vice-President of the Policy & Resources Committee and lead for the
COVID-19 financial support measures, said:

“While it has taken longer than expected to finalise and communicate the final
support package, we felt it important to wait until the final report from Offshore had
been received and taken into account in amending the final package. We’ve worked
hard to finalise the support for visitor accommodation businesses and I hope the
availability of options and the increased levels of funding we’re providing will give
them confidence for the coming months. We recognise that further challenging
months may lie ahead beyond this period and we will continue to monitor the
situation, liaise with the industry and take any appropriate further steps to respond
to the changing picture.

I would like to thank those businesses for their patience and forbearance whilst we
have been finalising the scheme’s details. I would also like to thank Offshore Group
for their work in undertaking a review in such challenging timescales. We always
knew it was simply not possible to design a perfect support package given the
competing challenges and sheer diversity of the sector and sub-sectors, but we have
been prepared to listen to feedback and respond appropriately.

We had previously made it clear that it was simply not feasible to expect the
taxpayer to fund all the industry losses but this enhanced package, together with any
exceptional cases to be looked at individually, is fully expected to achieve the
primary aim of all viable businesses being able to resume trading in reasonable
shape upon the onset of the 2021 season. It is taxpayers’ money that we are using to
help these businesses, and we must use it carefully and proportionately. But we also
know how important these businesses are to the tourism industry and to other
industries more widely, as well as to our quality of life in Guernsey, such that
Islanders will no doubt support a reasonable level of funding for them.”

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