Cattery owner Oswaldtwistle’s fight against Covid subsidy rules
THE owner of an Oswaldtwistle cattery explained how government rules on coronavirus subsidies – classifying him as a town crier – have made it difficult to survive the pandemic.
Craig Dodding is campaigning for a rule change so that animal boarding schools, including dog kennels, qualify for Whitehall’s major cash support payments.
He got a promise from Hyndburn Council that they will now automatically count towards discretionary payments.
Mr Dodding – who runs the Rhoden Manor cattery – believes businesses should be classified in the hospitality and tourism sector and be eligible for the Additional Restriction Grant (ARG), as most of their customers are vacationers seeking to take care of their pets when they are away from home. .
Her case was raised at the Hyndburn plenary council meeting on Thursday when Cllr Judith Addison, of the Immanuel neighborhood, asked for help from town hall in solving a ‘zip code lottery’ over payments.
Authority chief Cllr Miles Parkinson has promised all kennels and catteries in the borough will be eligible for discretionary coronavirus support payments.
Father of three, Mr Dodding, who founded the UK Alliance of Catteries and Kennels to lobby the government, said: “We have been luckier than many boarding establishments.
“We received a payment of £ 10,000 when the pandemic started last year and have received other discretionary payments totaling £ 10,000.
“Some catteries and kennels have not received anything. The current grant system is a lottery and we are grateful to Hyndburn Council for their help.
‘If we had been classified by the government as a hospitality and tourism company, which we should be as most of our customers are vacationing pet owners, we would have been entitled to £ 35,000 in ARG covering 80% of our revenue lost. .
“Instead, we were lumped together with town criers, shoe shiners and burlesque dancers.
“It was difficult for us. Sometimes we only have two cats in our house instead of the usual 40.”
Cllr Addison said: “Animal boarding schools like Rhoden Manor seem to have been forgotten by the government grant system.
“It’s a zip code lottery. I’m glad the board looked at this.”
Cllr Parkinson said: “The Hyndburn Council will now automatically consider animal counseling establishments as eligible for discretionary coronavirus support grants.”
Chorley MP and Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle supports Mr Dodding’s campaign for change.