Council leader asks Prime Minister for Unique Package of Support for Chester's Tourism and Hospitality Businesses

20 October 2020

As the borough tackles the latest COVID-19 challenges, Louise Gittins, the Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealing for extra support to help businesses and workers in Chester’s tourism and hospitality sector.

Normally attracting 14 million tourists and visitors a year, and supporting 10,000 jobs, the geographical position of Chester is having a uniquely detrimental effect on businesses in the city.

The Council has already written to Government in a letter to Helen Whately MP on 14th October, the Minister of State (Minister for Care) referring to the borough’s being placed within tier 2 (“high”) of COVID-19 restrictions. 

The Council has also, in partnership with Cheshire East and Warrington Councils, and its Local Enterprise Partnership, submitted a local action plan setting, including proposals for additional financial and operational support from central government.

The Council has recently met and listened to concerns from the Chester business community. Businesses in the city of Chester rely on custom from people travelling over from North Wales and the Liverpool city region, in addition to customers from Cheshire West.

The business community in Chester have reported that the latest restrictions are, consequently, having a detrimental effect on the businesses there, which is in a unique geographical location, adversely affected at this time by its neighbouring areas having stricter COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

New restrictions place Cheshire West and Chester in Tier 2. This means that little support is available to hospitality businesses, an important sector for the city of Chester.

With the centre of Chester just 2 miles from the Welsh border, and a 20-minute journey from the Liverpool City Region, the cumulative impact of Tier 2 measures is devastating Chester’s local hospitality industry. 

Without any obvious comparator anywhere else in the UK, the Council is now appealing for a unique package of support for the city’s tourism and hospitality businesses, or a bespoke city deal.

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