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Published on Friday, October 16, 2020

Call for help for short-term accommodation suppliers

The UK Short Term Accommodation Association has written to the Chancellor asking for additional support for visitor accommodation suppliers, saying businesses will be hit hard as they head into winter.

Merilee Karr, Chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association, said: "The closure of large swathes of the hospitality sector in specific geographic locations will cause a massive downturn in demand for visitor accommodation, which will seriously reduce demand for many businesses."

The STAA's letter says that if visitor accommodation businesses are not forced to close they won't be able to benefit from the Job Support Scheme or other reliefs whilst simultaneously not having any demand due to government restrictions, including the quarantine restrictions, the 'rule of 6' and now hospitality closures in more than half of the country, including London.  

The letter goes on to say: "The combined impact of the virus and government lockdown policies on travel, means they need support through any period where the government is actively restricting demand for tourist accommodation."

"Closing some parts of the hospitality sector, but not others, destroys the demand for visitor accommodation without making it eligible for much of the support that businesses which have been forced to close can access."

According to the STAA, the UK's short-term rental sector accounts contributes significantly to a staycation sector which was set to add £25bn to the UK economy prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The STAA argues that the government has a duty to protect this sector so that when restrictions lift the industry will be in a position to rebuild.

Karr said the short-term rental sector had proven how resilient it was when it launched the NHS Homes Scheme earlier this year. This initiative offered free accommodation to key NHS workers to enable them to stay close to the hospitals they worked in so that they could avoid the risk of taking COVID-19 back to their families.

Karr said a new scheme called Trusted Stays would soon be launched, where a centralised portal will offer NHS and government workers access to Covid-safe and clean accommodation when they are relocated or travel to their places of work.

By Louise Longman, Contributing Editor (UK)

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