Homeworker wins fight to secure grant from council

Greater Manchester homeworker Sue Welsh has succeeded in obtaining a grant from her local council after lobbying her MP.

Trafford Council confirmed she qualifies for a payment of £2,000 under the Additional Restrictions (Discretionary) Grant scheme.

Welsh, owner of Ace Travel 2, a member of The Travel Network Group, was one of the agents who was a victim of the “postcode lottery” of grant eligibility that Abta highlighted before Christmas.

She did not qualify for other government financial support as she is not self-employed and was not able to be furloughed.

Welsh had taken her case to her local MP Kate Green, who held a Zoom surgery last month to hear about problems that travel professionals were facing during the pandemic. Welsh raised the situation of the homeworking sector, which she said had slipped through the “cracks in support”.

After writing to government ministers to highlight “severe financial pressures” faced by agents, Green alerted Welsh to Trafford Council’s extension of its Additional Restrictions (Discretionary) Grant scheme to include home-based businesses.

Welsh, who has spent the last 15 years of her 33-year career in travel working from home, said: “It was not about the money, really, it was the principle; some people were falling through the cracks in the system.

“Some councils had different policies so some people got payments and others did not.

“I would tell others in the trade, in a similar position, to fight and fight if you think you are right.”

She expects to use the grant to help market her business when a date for leisure travel’s reopening is given, and may plan an event for when restrictions are relaxed.

Welsh said most of her enquiries have been for 2022 but she recently made a £20,000 booking for a Barbados holiday next Christmas.

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