Skills of Nottingham gave evidence before the Transport Select Committee last week
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has launched its coach strategies for the UK and Wales, entitled Backing Britain’s Coaches and Backing Wales’ Coaches respectively.
Back Britain’s Coaches calls for a £150m grant-based scheme to support English and Welsh operators, claiming that similar schemes are already available in Scotland and Northern Ireland, alongside government backed campaigns to promote coach travel to passengers and locations. It also calls on the Chancellor to extend repayment terms for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans that he committed to in September 2020.
The asks of the Backing Wales’ Coaches campaign are £7.5m in grants, developing the coach offer as a key component of Wales’ tourism strategy and a national clean air fund to help coach operators to invest in new vehicles or retrofit older ones.
The announcement follows a discussion of the difficulties currently facing the coach industry in the UK, where CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler highlighted the merits of these actions, alongside several coach operators.
Vidler said: “The coach industry has suffered as much as any other during the pandemic and has inexplicably been treated differently to other areas of the leisure and hospitality industry. Today’s strategy sets out the road to recovery.
“We need to see coaches treated in line with other leisure and hospitality businesses and this must include a grant scheme to help operators get holidays up and running generating income for local economies across the UK. Without this, many operators will find it unviable to open their doors meaning attractions and places across the country will see less footfall placing jobs and businesses at risk.”
CPT Cymru Director, Joshua Miles, commented: “We’re calling for an ambitious agenda that looks to not only help the coach sector recover, but to prosper and grow in the years ahead.
“Like many other sectors, the coach industry has suffered much during the pandemic, with eight in 10 UK coach operators seeing a 50% reduction in turnover. Indeed, for some operators this has placed their entire future in doubt, with two in 10 operators reporting 90% reductions in turnover.”