I spoke in today’s Opposition Day Debate about the importance of protecting the coach industry, and the Honk for Hope campaign to protect jobs and business.
The fall in demand this summer meant that 98% of coaches were left in the depot, and off the road.
To safeguard the long-term future of the coach travel industry, I would like the government to make the following commitments:
- Extend finance holidays by 12 months to ensure that no coaches are repossessed during the winter, so businesses are ready to bounce back in 2021
- Designate the coach sector as part of the leisure industry to enable access to the support and grants that have been made available to other leisure businesses
- Introduce a freeze on lenders seeking to repossess family homes as a result of a collapse of a coach company
Unfortunately, due to time restraints, I was unable to highlight the following in the Chamber:
To deliver the best value for the taxpayer, limited financial support must be targeted:
- to small and medium sized businesses
- to viable businesses experiencing short-term financial difficulties caused by Covid
- to businesses essential to the wider economy
I believe that the coach industry meets these tests:
- there are 2,500 coach operators in the UK; the majority are small family companies, some of which are now 2nd or 3rd generation family businesses.
- the coach operators in my constituency are fully booked year on year, providing home to school transport, moving sports fans across the country week in week out, as well as a full roster of coach trips and holiday bookings
- the coach sector is essential to our tourism industry, connecting people to the retail, leisure and cultural centres facilitating over 23 million visits to UK attractions each year.