Canal boats ready for hire. With thanks to Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd for the photograph
The image of a narrowboat cruising along the canal is a quintessentially British scene, but sadly many trip boat companies, hire boat providers and other waterways businesses are under serious threat despite this new loan scheme. We recently ran a survey in partnership with Waterways World magazine to better understand the situation being faced. Almost 1500 waterway businesses were contacted and the responses paint a very bleak picture, with the majority of businesses reporting that they are at significant risk of collapse and some already closing.
It is seasonal businesses that are being hit hardest due to the timing of this lockdown. The inland waterways leisure industry is worth approximately £1.5bn to the UK economy, but almost 90% of these businesses rely heavily on the summer months (April to September) for the overwhelming majority, if not all, of their income. Without this income, they will have no means to repay any sort of loan and rather than get into further debt, will have no option but to cease trading. The timing has hit many businesses doubly hard off the back of the hard winter which caused widespread flooding and closures of some waterways.
We have written to Defra alongside British Marine, the Broads Authority and CRT asking for more financial assistance for waterway businesses and we have written to every MP with a waterway in their constituency.
Please write to your MP to raise concerns you may have for the waterway businesses and organisations in your local area. You may want to use some of the following key points as part of your letter, but it is best if each letter is unique.
You can find out who your MP is, and how best to contact them, by looking at the Parliamentary website.
To see a full list of MPs with waterways in their constituency please take a look at our Directory of MPs. The database is fully searchable by MP name, constituency, waterway and IWA branch, enabling you to work out which MPs you need to contact for any particular stretch of waterway.
Write to your MP:
Love Your Waterways and join us today. If you enjoy your local waterways, please make a difference by joining IWA and supporting our work.