NCC’s goal is to help businesses of all sizes through this crisis whilst keeping employees safe, supply chains moving and businesses running.
Our political engagement
The NCC and caravan industry meet with Business Minister and his team
Following the adjournment debate in the House of Commons in June, as promised, the Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, MP, as promised, met with the NCC and MPs from Hull and East Riding (David Davis, Graham Stuart, Emma Hardy and Karl Turner) to discuss the plight of the caravan manufacturing industry in the region. Also present were representatives from holiday caravan manufacturers, Swift and ABI.
The Minister made positive and supportive comments about the important contribution the caravan industry makes to domestic tourism and staycationning, and recognised the role it plays in providing skilled jobs in the area.
The focus of the discussion was to press home to the Minister that:
- the caravan manufacturing industry is both efficient and viable
- its medium to long term prospects are good.
The NCC’s Deputy Director General, Alicia Dunne, explained that: “The sector is dependent upon seasonal tourism and retailing by manufacturers’ customers (holiday parks) as well as orders from parks to replace holiday caravans used in the hire fleet. The key trading months are March to August – two thirds of this period have been lost to COVID-19. Damage to the sector without explicit, temporary Government intervention over the winter period (Nov- Feb) will be severe.”
Significant reductions on orders to replace hire fleet over the winter are projected, due to the prolonged lockdown and delay in reopening the caravan parks to holiday makers as parks (closed for a full three months) cut back on capital expenditure and investment. As confidence in the market grows slowly, sales of holiday caravans to new owners are also expected to be reduced. .
These orders for hire fleet, primarily from the larger park operators, normally support manufacturers over the critical winter months. Alicia Dunne continues: “Without some form of temporary intervention, jobs will be lost with little or no prospect of this highly skilled workforce being re-deployed in the area. The sector is asking for a temporary bridge – from November to end of February 2021 to get it through the four winter months. This will be cost neutral to government by end of May 2021.”
The Minster confirmed that his team will work with the NCC to go through the detailed report. He accepted that an early decision is critical and said he will explore which avenues are available to securing early temporary sector-specific support.
Meeting with BEIS Economic Shocks team
On 14 July, there was a further meeting between BEIS Business Intelligence and Economic Shocks team and the NCC was to discuss in more detail the data submitted to BEIS and the Minister in support of the request for a temporary bridge grant for the sector, sited largely in an area of high unemployment. BEIS officials are to prepare a further report for consideration and decision by the Minister.
NCC lobbying successes – dealerships, showrooms and a meeting with the Minister
The NCC was delighted to announce that leisure vehicle dealerships and distributors could to re-open, along with other non-essential retail businesses in England, from Monday 1 June.
The NCC’s Alicia Dunne commented: “We are very grateful to all those MPs who lent support. Particular thanks go to Richard Holden MP, who was instrumental in securing the decision that our sector could be included with car showrooms, confirmed by Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP.
This success was followed by confirmation that sales ‘showrooms’ on caravan parks in England could follow suit. Government clarified that “caravan parks can open up showroom / showground areas solely for the purpose of the sale of caravans. The remainder of the park and all other facilities should remain closed.”
Confirmation has now been received that caravan parks in England will be permitted to open from 4 July.
See below for information about the forthcoming meeting with the Business Minister.
Emma Hardy MP secures adjournment debate in the House and meeting with the Minister
Emma Hardy, the MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on 15 June, to call for additional support for the caravan industry in Hull and Humberside.
In an impassioned speech, Ms Hardy said: “Hull is the capital of caravan manufacturing in the UK, and the Hull MPs have a strong tradition of standing up for the sector.
“Like other businesses across the country, caravan manufacturers have benefited from the Government’s economic support measures … Unfortunately, all those measures have not been enough to alleviate sufficiently the pressure on the industry, and without further intervention, the future is stark. The position of caravan manufacturers sets them apart from others in the manufacturing sector, as they are entirely dependent on trade in the leisure and tourism sector.”
Using statistics from the NCC, she continued: “When lockdown began on 24 March, 3,361 caravan parks closed, along with 381 caravan dealerships. Restrictions on travel were introduced, and the public were ordered to stay at home. At a stroke, 2.4 million people were denied the use of their caravan, either static or towed. The result was that the entire caravan manufacturing industry came to an abrupt halt … 208 caravan manufacturers and 647 suppliers closed, and 90% of the workforce is currently furloughed.”
She was supported in the debate by Karl Turner MP (Kingston upon Hull East), while MPs from other areas of the country pointed out the importance not just of the caravan manufacturing industry, but also tourism, which it supports.
Ms Hardy asked Government to consider a package of measures to stimulate the industry, that it be eligible for Business Rates Relief, and for a flexible approach to ending the furloughing scheme, to avoid job losses later in the year.
Government’s response was made by Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP (Stratford-upon-Avon), who was complimentary about the industry, saying that he believed that “the medium to long term prospects for the caravan industry are strong, and there are exciting new opportunities for the industry, with more families holidaying in the UK. The industry has shown that it can diversify its products to meet the changing demands of a new generation that wants to have that wonderful caravan holiday.”
While the Minister was not able to make any immediate promises, Mr Zahawi confirmed that he would be delighted to meet with the Hull MPs, the industry and the NCC. See the letter from Karl Turner MP requesting a meeting here.
Watch the debate (begins at 21:05).
Hull MPS write to the Chancellor in support of the caravan industry, asking for urgent action
MPs Karl Turner (Hull East), Emma Hardy (Hull West & Hessle) and Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) have written to the Chancellor, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP with a request for urgent support for the caravan manufacturing industry.
The letter states: “Contributing £9bn a year to the UK economy, the industry is heavily concentrated in Hull and East Yorkshire and is responsible for nearly 20,000 jobs in our region alone. As outlined in our letter to the Prime Minister on 20th May 2020, the market for sales is overwhelmingly seasonal. With businesses reliant on trade between March-August, there is a serious risk of collapse without further support for the sector.
“Like businesses across the country, caravan manufacturers have benefited from the Government’s economic support measures, including the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) and Business Interruption Loan Scheme. However, their position is unique, being entirely dependent on trade in the leisure and tourism sector but not eligible for sector-specific support.
“… livelihoods depend on the survival of this industry, as does the post-pandemic economic recovery of our city. We therefore urge you to consider all proposals to support this essential element of our regional economy and take urgent action.”
South Derbyshire MP supports calls for caravan businesses to re-open
South Derbyshire Conservative MP, Heather Wheeler, is supporting calls from two of her local businesses to re-open caravan holiday parks and, by extension, the whole caravan manufacturing and supply chain industry.
Heather Wheeler MP, who has Truma Ltd and Don Amott Caravans & Motorhomes within her constituency, commented: “The caravan industry, is one of the UK’s manufacturing success stories and crucially is a seasonal business with the prime selling period between March and August. The impact of COVID-19 has been to effectively close the industry before the summer season opened. Like other industries the longer businesses in the supply chain are not permitted to reopen, the greater the risk of businesses failures and substantial redundancies.”
Heather continued: “There is a great future for camping, caravan and motorhome holidays in the UK. Potentially staycationing will never be more appealing and rules on holiday parks on distances between pitches ensure social distancing. The economic value of the public taking UK holidays is very important but we need the parks and dealerships to be allowed to open as soon as it is safe to do so to unlock the rest of the supply chain.”
NCC works with consortium of parks groups to ‘support local tourism jobs and save our summer season’
The NCC is working in collaboration with NCC members Parkdean Resorts, Away Resorts, Bridge Leisure Parks, Haven, Hoburne and Haulfryn with the BH&HPA and UK Hospitality on a ‘support local tourism jobs and save our summer season’ lobbying campaign.
The campaign has targeted Treasury, DCMS and selected MPs in areas where holiday parks are crucial to the local economy, arguing that holiday parks should be allowed to open as soon as safely possible. Among the consortium’s key messages are:
- Parks are ideally designed to enable the continuation of social distancing.
- They are typically located in rural locations by the coast and not in heavily populated urban areas; the UK average park size is 24.3 acres, with 160 pitches.
- By law, all caravans and lodges have to be five metres apart. Caravans and lodges have no shared doors or communal areas. This means it is easy to avoid close social proximity with other people.
Watch the video here:
To Number 10 and beyond
The NCC has been putting the industry’s point of view to the PM, the Chancellor and other politicians at the highest level, including the Secretaries of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Housing, Communities and Local Government and Culture Media and Sport, as well as the Tourism Minister and Minister for Business and Industry.
Read the NCC’s letter to the Chancellor here.
If you have queries in relation to the NCC’s lobbying activities, please email email@example.com.
Government has published its PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy
Key points are that all workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should open – this includes construction, manufacturing and logistics.
Government is requiring workplaces such as hospitality and non-essential retail to currently remain closed. The intention is for re-opening ‘to happen in phases from 1 June; the Government will issue further guidance shortly on the approach that will be taken to phasing, including which businesses will be covered in each phase and the timeframes involved’.
Accommodation and leisure facilities, which should meet the CODIF-10 guidelines, will open no earlier than 4 July.
Webinar with Nigel Huddleston MP, Tourism Minister: key take-aways
In a webinar organised by UK Inbound on 28 April 2020, Nigel Huddleston MP talked to senior representatives of the UK’s tourism industry, including the NCC’s Deputy Director General, Alicia Dunne, about the current lockdown situation. She reports that the Minister commented:
- Government has made a lot of assistance available to businesses.
- In response to a question about extending furloughing beyond June, Huddleston replied that ‘clarification will follow in the next couple of weeks’ (i.e. on how long this could/should be extended by).
- Government is now looking at a recovery programme, and having conversations with industry bodies. ‘We understand businesses need to know, if it is not now, then WHEN? While this applies to many sectors, for hospitality and leisure, it is pivotal.’
- There will be clarification within a couple of weeks; what will happen beyond that will be informed by information from the tourism industry.
- The G20 tourism ministers met last Friday – Government is monitoring closely what other countries are doing and the policies they are developing.
- Government is looking at how sub sectors of the tourism industry can manage social distancing – certain sectors may be able to deal with this in a practical way, where others might struggle.
For more information on how the NCC is working for its parks members in the current challenging times, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCC asks members to tell Government about the impact of Coronavirus
The DCMS Select Committee has launched an inquiry on the impact of Coronavirus on all sectors under DCMS’s remit (i.e. tourism). In particular, the Committee is interested in finding out:
- What has been the immediate impact of Covid-19 on your sector?
- How effectively has the support provided by DCMS, other Government departments and arms-length bodies addressed the sector’s needs?
- What will the likely long-term impacts of Covid-19 be on your sector, and what support is needed to deal with those?
- What lessons can be learnt from how DCMS, arms-length bodies and the sector have dealt with Covid-19?
- How might the sector evolve after Covid-19, and how can DCMS support such innovation to deal with future challenges?
The deadline for written evidence is Friday 19 June 2020.
Follow this link to respond directly – please see the notes regarding confidentiality.
Tourism Alliance writes to Chancellor
On 3 April, the Tourism Alliance, of which the NCC is a member, wrote to the Chancellor regarding the importance of the tourism industry, and the difficulties that the current lockdown restrictions were presenting. Read the letter here.
NCC supports the Tourism Alliance’s Don’t Cancel, Postpone campaign. It is vitally important that holidaymakers are encouraged to choose the UK when the current travel restrictions are lifted. UKCCA research shows the holiday park and campsite sector contributes £9.3 billion in revenue and supports over 170,000 FTE jobs in the UK in tourism alone.