Lobbying DEFRA for £20,000,000 Support Package for Waterway Businesses. Can you help with answers to a few questions?

We hope RBOA members who are involved in waterways-based businesses will respond to the following request:

Dear Waterway Business Owner –

Thank you again for responding to our survey on the impact of Covid-19 on waterway businesses back in April.

Since reporting the overall survey findings to Defra in May we have been asking for additional support for the waterways sector. So far support has not been forthcoming, beyond the schemes that Government has announced to help businesses generally.

We still believe that waterways based businesses require additional support in order to safeguard the future of the waterways, and we are continuing to lobby for this – with Ministers and Government departments, with the opposition, and with individual MPs and Government officials. We are asking for a funding package of £20 million, similar to that made available to the fishing industry, to be distributed through the navigation authorities to those waterway businesses who need it the most.

We know that many waterway businesses have been able to start operating again and you will be very busy, but we are also aware that some businesses haven’t been able to resume activities due to ongoing restrictions. We want to make sure that Government doesn’t assume that this problem has gone away with the easing of lockdown, as even those of you who have been able to re-start will have lost a large proportion of your annual income.

We are preparing for a meeting with Defra later this month…..

In readiness for a further meeting with Defra at the end of August, we are now gathering case studies and evidence about how individual waterway businesses have been affected.

Could you answer these questions to help us in our meeting with Defra?…..

If you would like to take part in this stage of the campaign, please reply to this email (or email [email protected]) with the following information:
Has your waterway business been able to start operating again?
Will your waterway business struggle to survive the winter months due to the lack of income during this spring/summer?
How useful has the government support been to your business (ie which schemes have you been able to access)?
Would you be happy to be contacted further for your business to be used as a case study for our evidence for Defra?
We look forward to hearing from you if you are able, and hope that you are enjoying a busy return to business now that the waterways are open again.

Kind Regards

Alison Smedley
Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager
Inland Waterways Association
[email protected]