Cornwall Council has passed a motion that calls for government support for the coach industry. It will now ask Westminster to consider measures to back the sector.

The motion, proposed by Cllr Jackie Bull, was laid before a full council meeting on Tuesday 7 July. It notes that while the coach industry is “under severe threat” through the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the sector remains “highly important” to Cornwall’s economy, particularly its seaside resorts. In addition, many elderly and vulnerable residents of the county are regular travellers on coach holidays.

Cornwall Council and Visit Cornwall to back coach support calls

Working with Visit Cornwall, the local authority will now make representations to the government to provide a bespoke package for the coach industry. They include an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), or the provision of similar sector-specific measures; a VAT holiday; and a “broader tailored package” of support.

The motion notes that while the government has backed other parts of the tourism industry, nothing has been presented to support coaching and its “unique needs.”

Cllr Bull took advice from the industry while preparing the proposals. She say that the impact of a collapse in coach tourism is “sufficiently strategic” for Cornwall Council to “pursue a campaign to help to secure a sustainable future for the industry.”

The motion says that some hotels in Cornwall rely entirely on coach tourism. “The cost of support would be small compared with the treatment of other sectors. The objective must, however, be that after the pandemic, the opportunity remains to provide coach holidays,” it continues.

Cornwall’s actions echo those of wider coach industry

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) and a delegation of coach operators will meet Transport Minister Baroness Vere on 15 July to underline the industry’s plight.

In April, CPT called for a wide-ranging package of measures to support the sector. They include an extension of CJRS and financial support. Additionally, CPT is seeking confirmation that coach operators are to be considered part of the leisure sector for the purpose of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.