Operators’ backing for coach industry support letter sought

Two coach operators are calling on their peers within the industry to give their backing to a letter that will be presented to Chancellor Rishi Sunak giving further weight to the sector’s case for financial support during and after the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Cozy Travel and CL Travel, both of Royston, have created the letter. It will be presented to Mr Sunak on Friday 15 May. The two operators are asking other operators who have not already done so to add their backing by co-signing it.

They can do that by emailing Cozy Travel Director Greg Powell at info@cozy.travel. Their name and company will be added to the list of signatories; email communication is needed should the government require proof of the number of operators supporting the message.

Mr Powell says that he and CL Travel Director Roy Badcock have engaged with their local MP for several weeks to communicate the industry’s case. That has led to an introduction to a senior figure within the Houses of Parliament, who is willing to support the cause and hand the letter directly to Mr Sunak.

Within it is outlined several problems currently faced by the sector. The letter complements the proposal for support already submitted to the government on behalf of the coach industry by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).

The letter asks for:

  • Acceptance that the coach industry is part of the leisure sector and is thus eligible for a business rates holiday, and a cash grant in some cases
  • Action to ensure that the Procurement Policy Note advice regarding continued payment for home-to-school contracts is adhered to, and that support is also received where home-to-school services are operated directly for parents
  • A flexible approach to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for the coach industry until work levels return to normal
  • A review of the application of PSVAR to home-to-school services.

Mr Badcock and Mr Powell note that if the coach industry does not receive government backing, many other businesses on the industry’s supply side will be affected.

Included with the letter will be a copy of CPT’s proposition for support for coach operators. CPT does not expect business volumes in the sector to return to normal until December 2021. Among other items, it has called for a Coach Operator Hardship scheme. That would allow operators to apply for grants for vehicles registered to them.