Oswaldtwistle Cattery Owners Campaign to Meet Minister
GOVERNMENT minister is due to meet with owners of an Oswaldtwistle cattery to discuss their campaign to have animal boarding schools classified as hospitality and tourism.
The offer was made when Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe raised the issue during a special debate in the House of Commons.
She told Junior Environment Minister Jo Churchill that animal boarding schools, including catteries and kennels, had “slipped through the cracks” of the government’s subsidy system to compensate companies for the impact of restrictions on coronaviruses.
Miss Britcliffe brought the issue to Westminster after Craig and Claire Dodding, owners of Rhoden Manor Cattery in Oswaldtwistle, contacted her following a prolonged battle for a Covid-19 grant from Hyndburn Council.
Despite their eventual success, they discovered that dozens of similar businesses nationwide were facing similar issues and launched a nationwide campaign to reclassify animal boarding schools into the hospitality and tourism industry because most of the clients were owners seeking care for their pets while on vacation.
Miss Britcliffe praised the government’s coronavirus grant system for supporting businesses affected by Covid-19 restrictions.
She told Ms Churchill: “As with any system, a number of specific cases have fallen through the cracks. I will highlight the example of kennels and catteries, which provide accommodation for pets 365 days a year and provide a vital service to travelers and businessmen who need to go abroad.
“Like other industries, kennels and catteries have been affected by the closures.
“The difficulty is that restrictions have remained on industries directly affected by tourism, but kennels and catteries are not considered part of the tourism sector. This is where my constituents Claire and Craig Dodding come in.
“In response to these difficulties, they created the UK Cattery and Kennel Alliance, which advocates for the interests of catteries and kennels across the country.
“We’re seeing a discrepancy in the way boards have provided discretionary funding.
“It seems to me that a good first step would be for representatives of the sector to meet with the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and discuss these issues. I am therefore asking you if it would be possible to negotiate a first meeting between her and her officials, the British Alliance and me.
Ms. Churchill said, “Kennels and catteries provide important services to our cat and dog populations and their owners.
“The government is aware of industry concerns regarding restrictions related to Covid-19. We take this very seriously.
“I would be happy to meet with you to see exactly where the challenges are.”