07 Mar

A mix of Budget measures means mixed impact for members

Yesterday’s Budget may be the last one before the General Election, meaning it will be scrutinised perhaps even more thoroughly than usual by commentators. But what’s the impact on travel?

As I said to media yesterday, the news of a 2p National Insurance cut unsurprisingly took the lion’s share of headlines. However, while this may put some money back in people’s pockets, the total tax take will remain high and it remains to be seen if this move will create a new ‘feelgood factor’ bolstering customer confidence and boosting bookings.

For many members the extension of Covid recovery loan scheme, which will provide access to government-backed finance for SMEs, may be even more welcome. We have been speaking regularly to government about the pressures facing our members and we will continue to urge them to work with banks to ensure leniency around repayment timelines and help businesses still recovering from the pandemic.

On a less positive note the increase in Air Passenger Duty on non-economy-class flights must not become the thin end of the wedge of further increases, when the UK already has one of the greatest air travel tax burdens in the world. ABTA’s research has found that travel and tourism can grow faster than the rest of the economy over the next few years, when we desperately need this growth, but only with the right policy framework.

In a year when a general election is likely, members can rest assured that we will continue to strongly communicate to both Government and opposition parties the importance of our sector - in wealth creation, economic contribution, employment and trade.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive