Over 550 of the UK’s coach operators have written to the Chancellor warning that, without urgent support, many of their businesses will go under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic costing thousands of jobs.
The letter, which was coordinated by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), warns that thousands of family businesses are at risk because coach operators – despite parking coaches and furloughing staff – are still facing costs of on average £1,900 per day with no income or support from the Government.
Despite the spring and summer being the traditional peak period, only 2% of coaches that are normally involved in a range of tourist trips are currently being used and bookings are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until summer 2021, placing over 40,000 jobs at risk.
CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler commented: “Without question the industry is in a fight for its future and feels forgotten by government.
“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.”
The three point support package operators are calling for includes:
- A cash injection into the industry worth £65m 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.
Graham continued: “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.”
The support package has been calculated on a per coach basis, with operators receiving a per coach payment at the below rates, and assumes the furlough scheme is in place throughout 2020.
|Apr – Jun 2020||Jul – Sep 2020||Oct – Dec 2020|
|Payable May 2020||Payable Aug 2020||Payable Nov 2020|
|17+ passenger seats||£7500||£6750||£3750|
|9-16 passenger seats||£3750||£3375||£1875|