LGA urges coaches added to relief list

Coach companies are being urged to be added to a package of business rates relief.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has written a letter to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) urging the coach companies are added to business rates relief in the wake of the coronavirus.

The move came after guidance from the MHCLG suggested the coach industry may not be eligible for business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector. The government department said authorities should determine for themselves whether particular properties not listed are broadly similar in nature and, if so, to consider them eligible for the relief.

Coach operators are among a list of other business types in the leisure and hospitality sector not set to benefit from business rates relief, including: tour operators, English language schools, destination management organisations and tourism and hospitality charities. This view is based on customers not entering the premises to make a purchase. LGA’s letter said: “This distinction is both arbitrary and counter to your repeated statements that ALL businesses in the leisure sector are eligible for support.”

The letter continued: “This arbitrary distinction also lacks any credible basis as it results in situations such as: a travel agent that sells a customer a ticket for a tour is eligible for support but the tour operator or coach operator that makes the booking and/or takes the customer on the tour is not eligible for support.”

It also notes that car hire businesses are eligible for support but coach hire businesses are not.

A further statement in the letter said: “All local authorities benefit from a strong visitor economy and losing key organisations will significantly impact on their budgets, including their ability to raise income to reinvest in local public services.”

  • LGA’s letter can be viewed here.

  • The Government’s guidance on the application of business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector can be read here.

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