Coach tour operators have been specifically excluded from the scope of Restart Grant payments in England. The policy is disclosed in guidance to local authorities (LAs) issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where the sector is mentioned as one that should not be considered eligible.
Restart Grant payments are administered by LAs. The mechanism is based on rateable value. It delivers a one-off sum of up to £6,000 to non-essential retail businesses and of up to £18,000 to those in the accommodation, gym, hospitality, leisure and personal care sectors.
Point 36 in the guidance directly states that coach tour operators and tour operators should be excluded from the definition of a leisure business. The document identifies travel agents, tourist attractions, car washes, tattoo parlours and bookmakers among the many businesses that are eligible for the scheme, subject to them paying rates.
The guidance states that for the purposes of calculating Restart Grant eligibility, a leisure business can be defined as one “that provides opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events and days and nights out.” It adds that “the primary principle of the Grant is to support businesses that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises.”
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has reacted angrily to the exclusion of coach tour operators from Restart Grant eligibility. It describes the step as “another devastating blow for coach tourism despite the industry meeting the definitions of a leisure business as outlined by the government.”
CPT adds: “It is both shocking and disappointing to hear that the government is funding the reopening of hostess bars, bookmakers and vape stores while ignoring the plight of an industry that provides affordable, accessible holidays and day trips to millions each year.”