The coach industry must come together at a virtual lobbying event on Wednesday 10 February and leverage good news from Scotland about sector-specific support there to push for a countrywide package, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has urged.
The session will be hosted by Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle. Over 20 MPs have already confirmed their attendance and pressure is mounting on Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to be present.
Mrs Hardy has encouraged operators both to attend themselves, and to ask their MPs to. Three industry representatives – Paul Acklam of Acklams Coaches, Candice Mason of Masons Minibus and Coach Hire and Jenna Rush of North East Coach Hire – will speak at the event, as will CPT Head of External Relations Tom Bartošák-Harlow.
Lobbying and the presentation of evidence is what led the Scottish Government to double the amount of money allocated to the Scotland Coach Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund. That uplift will now see £10m administrated by Visit Scotland. Allocation of the per-vehicle money will be weighted towards those operators that are active in the tourism sector.
In welcoming the additional funding for Scottish coach operators, CPT Scotland Director Paul White credited the “extensive and continuous” lobbying of, and engagement with, Scottish Government officials and MSPs with ensuring “that the plight of the coach industry is both heard and understood, ultimately securing this result.”
CPT nationally says the announcement in Scotland should be used “to place further pressure on the UK government to provide support to the entire industry.” Ms Rush earlier told routeone that the lobbying event was called by Ms Hardy following a disappointing Treasury response in December 2020 to a bid for a nationwide support package for coaches.
While trade body RHA Coaches did not comment specifically on Wednesday’s event during a webinar held on 4 February, Managing Director of Policy and Public Affairs Rod McKenzie threw RHA’s weight behind work to secure a sector-specific support package for coaches. He also called for access to grants to be made easier by a reclassification of coaching to be part of the leisure sector.
Register to attend the event here.