Trade urged to keep lobbying after Chancellor says no to more support

By Lisa James
Home » Trade urged to keep lobbying after Chancellor says no to more support

Travel leaders are urging the trade to keep the pressure on the Government, despite the Chancellor saying there will be no extended furlough or other support.

In response to a request by the all-party group for the Future of Aviation to extend furlough and provide other sector-specific help for the travel industry, Mr Sunak said doing so would be unfair and would create ‘distortion’.

Writing to Henry Smith MP, Chairman of the Future of Aviation group, Mr Sunak said the Government ‘recognises the extreme disruption the pandemic has had on businesses across the UK, including those in the aviation, travel and tourism industries’ but said it would ‘be challenging to target the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to specific sectors in a fair and deliverable way and it may not be the case that this is the most effective or sensible way to provide support for those sectors most affected by Covid-19’.

“It would also be difficult to target the CJRS at specific sectors without creating distortion, particularly as some firms work across multiple sectors,” Mr Sunak added.

He ended the letter thanking the MPs ‘for drawing this to my attention’, but reiterated sector specific support would not be available.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who sits on the Future of Aviation Group, described the decision as ‘disappointing’ in a tweet, while others responded by saying travel restrictions need to end and test costs need to come down to compensate.

“I assume they will scrap the ridiculous travel restrictions by the end of this month then, if they don’t intend to offer any further assistance to stop travel companies from folding?! Some advance notice of their ‘plan’ would make a nice change,” said one.

Another said: “Then he needs to let the industry operate normally and lift all travel restrictions and pointless testing. You can’t have it both ways.”

A third person warned: “The end of furlough combined with extortionate testing for travel costs is going to hinder any chance of recovery the aviation/travel sector has.”

TARGET Co-Founder Graeme Brett said: “We are now expecting that up to 120,000 more jobs will be lost this autumn. The Government has treated travel disgracefully.

“As an industry we need to continue to fight for the Chancellor to change his mind.

“We also need trade bodies to support businesses who will now have to lose staff and for travel industry employees who face losing their jobs.”

The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) CEO, Danny Callaghan said: “We find ourselves in a ridiculous situation, where as an industry we are completely in the dark about the strategy for travel. We are open in every other sector, particularly in England, so the Government has adopted the principle of life returning to normal in a world with Covid, yet they continue to stifle international travel without actually explaining the rationale. 

“As party conference season approaches, I’ve asked LATA members and their teams to write to their constituency MP to highlight the challenges and demand answers to the Government’s approach and strategy. As time is precious, we’ve drafted a template letter for members to use so that they can quickly and easily contact their MP.” 

ABTA said it would continue to make the case to Government about the ‘detrimental impact travel policies have had on the industry and the ongoing need to provide tailored financial support to help businesses through the crisis’ .

“We’re currently gathering evidence from ABTA Members which we will present to the government along with our calls for support and greater opening up of travel. We encourage members to respond to our survey – the deadline for responses is this Friday,” it said.

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