Coach operators call for direct support for sector from chancellor

CPT has delivered a coordinated letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak, including signatures from more than 550 coach operators, warning that without urgent support many of their businesses will go under as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The letter warns that family businesses are at risk because coach operators, despite mothballing coaches and furloughing staff, are still facing costs of on average £1,900 per day with no income or support from the government. 

“Without question the industry is in a fight for its future and feels forgotten by government,” says CPT chief executive Graham Vidler. “The industry directly employs 42,000 people with many more jobs dependent on the sector to get people to attractions and destinations. Without support these jobs will go as operators will have no choice but to lay off staff. Attractions will also see reduced footfall as customers find it impossible to reach destinations.”

CPT is calling for a three point support package: a cash injection into the industry worth £65million a month, backdated to the beginning of the pandemic, to help the industry cover its costs for the rest of 2020; an extension to the furlough scheme beyond the current October end date; and confirmation that coach tour operators are to be treated as leisure businesses for the purposes of Covid-19 support. 

Vidler adds: “This injection of cash into the industry along with the continuation of the furlough scheme is vital. Ending the furlough scheme in October means asking coach operators to pick up wage costs in full in the midst of the low season for coach travel. Without this support and the recognition that coach travel is a leisure business many operators will go under as a result of the 18-month winter they are facing with little to no bookings.”