Easington MP Grahame Morris has called for the Government to provide support to the UK coach industry to ensure operators can make it through the coronavirus crisis.
Hundreds of coach operators, many of which are small family-owned businesses, have not been able to access enough support to guarantee their survival, whilst other transport sectors have received tailored support.
Commenting on the Government’s failure to support the coach industry, Grahame Morris MP for Easington said:
“Coach firms in East Durham have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and it has become clear that the Government must do more to help them.
“These local companies provide important services, helping those who otherwise would not have access to transport. These are viable businesses that simply need short term support to ensure they can continue to connect communities as we come out of the current crisis.”
Matt Rodda MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Buses and Local Transport, added:
“Local coach companies are much loved small businesses with the owner’s name and the town of origin proudly painted on the side of the coach. They have served their communities through thick and thin. However, with business disappearing because of the coronavirus, four in 10 of these much-loved local companies could go out of business this autumn, with the loss of 27,000 jobs.
“The Government must take urgent action to support these family-owned small businesses.”
Tens of thousands of jobs are at stake as a result of coach operators struggling to secure business as the coronavirus pandemic goes on.
There has been no sector-specific support for coach companies, unlike for bus, rail and light rail operators.
Industry experts the Confederation of Passenger Transport estimate up to 4 in 10 companies could go bust and 27,000 jobs could be lost if no support is made available.
Many companies are family-owned small businesses. Livelihoods and homes are at risk.
Over 23 million people visit UK attractions by coach every year, generating nearly 10 percent of the tourism sector’s total contribution to the economy.
Labour is calling for:
· The Government to be much more targeted in the way it uses financial support – including the availability of loans – for firms in for industries that have faced the toughest challenges this summer and continue to face difficult months ahead
· The Government to provide clearer guidance to operators and stakeholders in the tourism industry so that, where it is possible to safely do so, passengers can travel by coach
· The Government to come to the House of Commons and give frequent updates on these issues