Holidays in the UK could return in early July, the secretary of culture announced, saying the government had ambitious plans to revive the tourism sector.
Speaking at the daily briefing on Downing Street, Oliver Dowden said that any return on public holidays should be done with caution, as reopening the sector just to close it again would be more damaging.
“I would like to grow the tourism sector as quickly as possible. We set this very ambitious plan to try and put it into operation in early July, “he said.
“Clearly, we can only do it if it is safe to do it because I think the worst thing for our tourism sector would be to start, then to see the R rate go out of control, to see a second peak that overwhelms the NHS which then I have to hit again on the brakes.
“But believe me, when we get to the point where we can get British tourism back, maybe apart from the prime minister you won’t get a bigger sample of the great British vacation than I do.”
His comments came after Patricia Yates, chief executive officer of the official VisitBritain tourist agency, warned Tuesday that the tourism sector expected to lose £ 37 billion from the impact of Covid-19 – a figure that does not account of the effect of a possible 14-day quarantine for all visitors to Britain.
A Downing Street spokesman said they were considering a proposal from the institution to add an extra holiday to the UK calendar this year, potentially around the school’s half-term holiday in October, in order to offset the gains lost by the two May holidays spent in bulk.
Dowden also used the briefing to announce that the government planned to use £ 150 million left over in dormant banks and build company accounts to help support charities and social enterprises in response to the coronavirus crisis.
“This funding will support organizations that are at the heart of their communities, building on our unprecedented financial support package for the voluntary sector,” he said.
“Through our proposals to further expand the dormant asset scheme, we want to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds more for good causes, keeping customer protection at the center of the program.”
The money will be withdrawn from accounts that have remained intact for 15 years and for which no owner has been found, as part of the government’s dormant property regime. The initiative, which gives proceeds from abandoned accounts for good reasons, was launched in 2011. Thirty companies, including all the main street banks, voluntarily transferred funds to the system.
The £ 150 million will include the acceleration of the release of £ 71 million of new funds from dormant accounts along with £ 79 million which have already been unlocked and will be re-proposed to assist the response and recovery of charity coronavirus.
The money adds to the £ 750m of extra funding for front-line charities announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in April, an amount described as insufficient to save some third sector organizations from collapsing.
Some of the most well-known national charities have warned that they are in dire straits as charity shop revenue and fundraising events run out during the coronavirus block.