Coach sector ‘left out in the cold’ by Budget – CPT

No sector specific funding has been allocated for the coach industry in the Spring Budget.

The lack of support for the sector has lead CPT’s Chief Executive, Graham Vidler, to comment: “Coach operators have once again been left out in the cold by this government. Today the Chancellor has announced billions of pounds to help businesses across the country restart, including £5bn of further support for the retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism sectors but it inexplicably excludes coach operators.

“In 2019 over 23 million visits were made by coach worth £14bn to the UK economy. Today’s inexplicable omission will hamper the industry’s ability to kickstart UK tourism and help protect jobs and local economies across the country.”

“Coach operators have once again been left out in the cold by this government” – Graham Vidler

On the bus sector, Graham Vidler said: “Bus will be vital in the country’s Covid-19 economic recovery and drive towards net zero helping people get back to work and taking cars off our roads.

“Today was an opportunity for the Chancellor to ensure that sufficient funding is available, as hopefully restrictions end this summer, to enable the industry to deliver the services passengers will need as life returns to normal. It is disappointing this has not been taken.

“It is vital that the important funding that is currently in place to support the sector while passenger numbers are reduced is not at the expense of the services passengers will need in the future.”

On the decision to cancel the fuel duty rise, Vidler said: “The decade long freeze in fuel duty has led to 200 million fewer bus journeys, an additional three million tonnes of CO2 being emitted and increased congestion which cost the UK economy nearly £7bn in 2019.

“By failing to end the fuel duty freeze today the Chancellor has put at risk the Prime Minister’s green recovery and missed the chance to take a bold step towards positioning the UK as a global climate leader in advance of the COP26 summit later this year.”

Furlough extended

Perhaps one lifeline for operators is the extension of the furlough scheme into September.

Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound, said: “The extension of furlough is very welcome news for our industry, as is the business rates holiday and its further cut. We’re also pleased that leisure grants of up to £18,000 will be available for businesses that need to stay closed for longer, but we urgently need confirmation from Government that tour operators, coach operators, language schools and event organisers will be eligible for these grants, having been unfairly excluded to date.”

  • Read Joss Croft’s full statement here.

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