The Transport Select Committee has announced that its promised formal non-inquiry evidence session on the impact of COVID-19 on the coach industry will be held on Wednesday 24 March in Portcullis House (pictured). It will begin at 0930hrs and will be streamed live.
Oral evidence will first be given to the Committee by four representatives of the coach sector. They are:
- Candice Mason, Director of Business, Masons Minibus and Coach Hire
- Michael Pearson, Transport Manager, TM Travel
- Nigel Skill, Managing Director, Skills Holidays
- Graham Vidler, Chief Executive, Confederation of Passenger Transport.
At 1045hrs, Under-Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere and Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism Nigel Huddleston MP will be called.
That the ongoing plight of the coach industry would be examined by the Transport Select Committee was revealed by Committee member Greg Smith MP at a virtual lobbying event on 10 February. It follows extensive engagement with politicians by many operators.
He told fellow attendees of that event that the evidence session will take a “deep dive” look at the pandemic’s impact on the coach industry. Besides Mr Smith, fellow Committee member Grahame Morris MP has also been vocal in his support for the sector, as have many other MPs.
The lobbying event was called by Emma Hardy MP. She has become the coach industry’s champion in Westminster and continues to call for a UK-wide bespoke support package. On 17 March Mrs Hardy wrote to Under-Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere again requesting a meeting that Lady Vere had previously promised to discuss the sector’s difficulties.