So, the chancellor said repeatedly that he wouldn’t, but now he has. Furlough appears to be back for up to four months, according to announcements made as we are going to press. This will be welcome news across all business sectors and particularly so in the coach sector which has continued to see the rug pulled from under its feet as more of the UK enters various forms of lockdown this month.
We will leave aside the argument that until southern England was affected by lockdowns, the extension of furlough was repeatedly swept aside by the chancellor and prime minister. A spectacular u-turn might be embarrassing, but it is nonetheless welcome.
And while the government is revisiting its support for businesses, we hope that the lobbying from the coach sector for direct support, and especially the ability to stave off vehicle and property repossessions, is now also listened to. For coach operators specialising in tourism, events and private hire, and who don’t even have the benefit of school contracts to keep some wheels turning, this has been a nightmare year with spring and summer largely wiped out, and the very limited operations that have been possible since July/August now halted, potentially until late spring 2021.
It was already clear, but it has now been reinforced, that this is going to be a very tough winter for us all.
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