Four trade bodies that represent the coach industry have come together to make a joint call to government for support to mitigate the high price of fuel. They say that some operators in the sector “have days of survival left” if no assistance is forthcoming,
The Confederation of Passenger Transport, The Guild of British Coach Operators, RHA and the UK Coach Operators Association are each a cosignatory of the statement, which asks for urgent support “at this incredibly difficult period.”
The four bodies say that when the high price of fuel is combined with increased costs for staff, parts and other energy requirements, the coach industry is under “the severest of financial pressures” and that its members cannot absorb those spiralling outgoings.
In particular, where operators undertake home-to-school contracts on behalf of local authorities, they are unable to pass on increasing costs. The trade associations have highlighted that there is now a growing risk of such work being returned to the issuing body, which would then be forced to re-tender it and accept “a much higher price.”
In asking Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support the industry, the representative bodies collectively underline calls for a reduction in fuel duty and for the introduction of an essential user rebate that would include coach operators. “This step would mirror an approach taken by other European nations [that] provide rebates for commercial operators,” the statement says.
Failure to provide assistance with fuel costs could lead to the loss of jobs and vital services, they conclude. Support for a cut in fuel duty and the introduction of an essential user rebate has grown in recent weeks, with scheduled service operator FlixBus UK having lent its support to calls for assistance for the coach industry in dealing with diesel costs.
The joint statement is thought to represent the first time that all four of the trade bodies involved have worked together on political lobbying, highlighting the gravity of the issue in hand.