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English UK renews urge for Covid grants

English UK has voiced fears that relief payments which were promised by the UK chancellor “over a year ago” will be delayed again to the next tax year.

English UK and other associations said that their “recovery will be damaged” if he does not follow through. Photo: Pexels

"The [inbound tourism industry] lost over £45 billion over two years"

The ELT association has joined other sectors across the country to urge Rishi Sunak to provide the Covid Additional Relief Fund grants, fearing that their “recovery will be damaged” if he does not follow through.

“Many of our member centres have now had two years without significant income as students have been unable to travel here,” said Jodie Gray, English UK’s chief executive.

“We do not anticipate confidence returning overnight, particularly among the families of younger students,” she conceded.

So far, eight sector organisations have written to the chancellor telling him to “ensure the payments are made without further delay”.

They also said that the scheme, to be viable, needed to be extended for another year to continue support business recovery.

“We understand that local authorities are still unable to identify and distribute to grants to eligible business – we now face the likely situation that this will not be paid this financial year, adding further pressure,” the letter to the chancellor reads.

“Please provide as quickly as possible the resources that local authorities need to pay this to eligible businesses as soon as possible.”

Also one of the sectors closely affected and related to the international education sector is tourism, which has also been decimated.

“The [inbound tourism industry] lost over £45 billion over two years, but today one of the key issues for inbound tour operator businesses is working capital.

“Many of our member centres have now had two years without significant income”

“Reserves have been depleted due to the pandemic and although bookings are coming in, the full monies won’t materialise until the visitors, whilst these businesses still need to pay their hotel and attraction deposits,” said CEO of UKinbound Joss Croft.

Other sectors affected include events and conference organisations and even small breweries.

“It is a testament to the resilience of language centres that just 15% have closed permanently to date, but business rates are a huge expense as schools need large buildings which are often in town centres to meet student demand,” Gray explained further.

“We are really worried that further delays in the distribution of this fund will lead to the closure of viable businesses which would have otherwise continued to play their part in the UK’s economy and export drive.”

The issue of business rates relief has also been a contentious issue during Covid-19, with the ELT sector taking its campaign online as well as to parliament in London calling for more government support.

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