MP confronts Boris Johnson for coach support

Labour MP for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Chi Onwurah, has asked the Prime Minister if support similar to that Northern Ireland coach operators are to receive will be made available. She also asked whether he will explain how it can support operators threatened by personal debt guarantees.

It follows Rikki Wilson, owner and Director at Group 10 Executive Coaches, contacting the MP to outline the coach industry’s troubles concerning the coronavirus.

Chi Onwurah said: “My constituent Rikki Wilson is one of the excluded. From nothing, he built a private coach business with 18 employees and £1 million in turnover, until covid. Coaches are not classed as either tourism or leisure, so he cannot get any grants, and the banks will not accept his assets for loan guarantees. Buses might be just a photo-op for the Prime Minister, but they matter in the north. They also matter in Northern Ireland, which has just announced a special fund, so will he do the same? Will he also write to me to explain how we can protect those threatened by personal debt guarantees?”

Boris Johnson replied: “I am very interested in what the hon. Lady says because, as she knows, this Government are investing massively in 5,000 low-carbon buses. I would be interested to know what type of coaches she is talking about and the details of the company that she rightly represents. That company should be eligible for bounce back loans and for all sorts of support. She is shaking her head, so I invite her to write to me with details of that company’s needs, and I will do my best to oblige her.”

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