To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to recent reports by 24 zoos to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums that they were at high or medium risk of closure in 2021, what support his Department plans to provide to those zoos.
12 February 2021
The fund has been a lifeline for many zoos and has been accessible to all zoos and aquaria which need funds to care for their animals, as evidenced by the success of small, medium and large zoos in securing grant funding. Only one application to the Zoo Animals Fund has been rejected on the basis that the business in question was ineligible as it did not have the necessary licence or exemption. The Zoo Animals Fund has been created to provide for zoos which, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals. The fund’s purpose is to ensure that animals’ needs continue to be met, and if zoos are closing, downsizing or rehoming their collection the fund can also provide support in these circumstances. We have extended the application deadline for the Zoo Animals Fund to 26 February 2021 and urge any zoos in need of support to put in an application.
Beyond the Zoo Animals Fund, the Government has provided a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses, including zoos and aquaria, through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Zoos and aquaria are eligible to apply for a range of support schemes including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding.