ABTA has responded to the Chancellor’s Budget statement today (March 3), welcoming the extension of general business support measures, but saying that travel companies without retail premises must also be eligible for financial support.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said: “We’re pleased to see the Government has responded to many of our calls to extend furlough, business rates relief and VAT reductions. This will help to support jobs and businesses over the coming months. However, the Chancellor must move beyond the Government’s blind-spot concerning the impacts of international travel restrictions, and make support available to all travel companies whose business has been effectively closed by public health policy.
“The Chancellor said there are extra grants for struggling businesses, yet many travel companies remain excluded from this critical support, despite not being able to generate income over the last 12 months. By focusing the grants on retail outlets, businesses including tour operators, online travel companies and home-based workers remain shut out of this much needed support. It is also worth remembering that with overseas travel still closed, in the short to medium term, the income retail travel agents can generate will still be limited. As such, it’s important they qualify for higher levels of support.
“We urge the Government to reconsider this approach by making grants available to all travel businesses, not just those with retail premises, recognising that the reopening of overseas travel will come later than the other sectors and will likely to be gradual. The Chancellor has said he will do all that is necessary to support struggling businesses and these words should be matched with action to support the whole travel sector.”