Yvonne Fovargue MP: Tourism sector needs our support

Yvonne Fovargue is the Labour MP for Makerfield.
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Last week, I spoke in a debate on support for the aviation, travel and tourism industries.

Tourism is vital to the British economy but is facing its biggest challenge in living memory.

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There is still no tourism recovery plan, despite it being expected this spring, and many parts of this sector have been excluded from Government schemes.

Yvonne Fovargue MPYvonne Fovargue MP
Yvonne Fovargue MP

With the end of furlough in sight we need a plan to keep businesses going.

Neither our domestic nor our international travel and tourism industries know what support they can count on as the summer season starts.

Establishments providing food, drink and accommodation need protecting. That is why I am supporting calls for a flexible repayment scheme to tackle the debt burden facing the hospitality industry without harming the recovery of businesses that are still unable to turn a profit.

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There is also a staffing crisis in hospitality because of changes to the immigration rules post-Brexit, as well as workers returning to their country of origin in Europe and previously furloughed workers retraining and moving on. The Government must address the shortage of workers.

There are many industries waiting for support. For example, the coach industry waits for a package of support that aligns it with other areas of the leisure and hospitality sector, and travel agents wait for sector-specific funding.

There is also the issue of mixed messages on outbound travel, along with the lack of inbound and outbound travel. The uncertainty over testing regimes and quarantine continue to hit bookings.

We know that uncertainty hurts our economy, and that financial support promotes recovery and levels the playing field with competitors in Europe.

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The Government must step up and deliver a package that will give businesses certainty, the ability to plan and a chance to rebuild.

We are in the decisive decade for the climate emergency, and we need a comprehensive new green deal with the scale of investment and commitment that meets the moment.

The scale of change needed is enormous, but it is solvable.

A green economic recovery must meet this scale, provide decent work and a fair, sustainable and dynamic economy, and deliver change to address the inequalities and insecurities we face.

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I believe a green recovery could make us a fairer country, creating good, secure jobs wherever people live, cleaning up our air, protecting nature and ensuring everyone has a warm home with affordable energy bills.

We need urgent action in response to the climate crisis, which is the single greatest long-term challenge we face.

The United Nations has warned that we have less than a decade to avert its worst impacts and that this will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

Yet the Government has made far too little progress in decarbonising our economy.

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As the Climate Change Committee has made clear, unless plans are not scaled up across every sector, the UK will not deliver net zero by 2050.

A green economic recovery could be a massive opportunity for our country, but we need aspiration and commitment that matches the ingenuity and aspiration of the British people.

The Institute for Public Policy Research, for example, has estimated a £33 billion gap between current investment and what is needed to meet the legal net zero target.

Across the country there are many sectors where action could support the creation of new jobs and the tackling of the climate crisis, from ports and shipyards in the offshore wind supply chain, to investment in Carbon Capture and Storage and electric vehicle infrastructure, a National Nature Service, and the expansion of energy efficiency and retrofit programmes.

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As we emerge from the pandemic, failure to tackle this urgent issue will leave a terrible legacy for our children and grandchildren to inherit.

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