20 Oct

Ensuring the industry’s voice is clearly heard by Government – no matter who’s Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has resigned today and there is wide uncertainty around the stability of the Government as a whole. Politics aside, many of the challenges businesses are facing remain and will continue to do so regardless of what happens with the current administration. 

To that end, wherever today’s news leads the country, ABTA will continue to make the case for what the travel industry needs to continue its recovery from the pandemic and to get through the cost of living crisis. We’re making sure the industry’s voice is heard, regardless of the political turmoil and noise, continuing to offer constructive policy solutions based on hard evidence.

As I write, we are still expecting to hear more from the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, at the end of this month as he sets out the full Budget (Medium-term Fiscal Plan), which will include assessments from the Office of Budget Responsibility on the economic position and outlook for the UK.  

Clearly developments are fast moving and the timing and detail of finance measures may change, but earlier this week I wrote to Mr Hunt to lay bare the unique situation the industry is in, when compared with other sectors of the UK economy. A delayed start to the industry’s recovery, six months behind other sectors, and the removal of Government support (including furlough) at a time when the industry was unable to trade, place travel businesses at a disadvantage to many other sectors, now that people’s discretionary income is falling and costs for businesses are increasing. 

All of this makes for an extremely challenging environment for many Members, which is why we’re calling on the Government – whichever form it ends up taking after today’s news - to take action to support travel companies by extending business rates relief support beyond April 2023, work with the banks to ease the pressure of COVID loan repayments and freeze the level of Air Passenger Duty.

We are also arguing that travel businesses should be eligible for additional energy bill support beyond the initial six-month period. The Government is currently carrying out a review of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, looking at which sectors would be eligible for help after March 2023. ABTA has submitted evidence to Government and we’re encouraging Members to do the same by responding to the Government’s survey. The deadline is 23.55, this Monday (24th October 2022).

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive