ABTA has said the expanded version of the Job Support Scheme “does little for the UK’s £60bn travel industry”
The Job Support Scheme will now help businesses in hospitality if Covid-19 restrictions mean they must close.
The government will pay two thirds of wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month for each employee. Staff must be off work for a minimum of seven days.
Following the chancellor’s announcement, Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA.
“The chancellor’s announcement of an expanded version of the Job Support Scheme to support businesses required to close due to local lockdowns does little for the UK’s £60bn travel industry, or the close to one million people who work in the sector.
“For almost eight months the travel industry has been hampered by the FCDO’s global advisory against all but essential travel, ever-changing quarantine rules and the failure of the Government to introduce a testing regime which would help to reopen many destinations.
“The announcement of a Global Travel Taskforce this week is recognition of the difficulties facing businesses across the travel industry. However, we cannot afford to wait weeks for additional help. It is vital that the government acts fast to help struggling travel businesses, and their staff. Without additional support we will see further job losses in travel over the weeks ahead, in addition to the more than 100,000 roles that have already been lost or at risk as a result of the crisis.”
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said “Once again the Chancellor has ignored the fact that inbound tourism businesses, that deliver £28 billion in export earnings for the UK every year, are on their knees, unable to fund viable jobs as they’ve been excluded from virtually all Government support channels since March. Government has already stopped businesses trading due to measures such as quarantine and previous lockdowns, and it therefore needs to compensate all affected companies, not just those facing these new measures or with an obvious shop front.”
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, who will speak at The Travel Convention, said that government is “moving ahead with the next step to reduce the travel quarantine period by launching the Global Travel Taskforce to open up international travel & boost our businesses.”
However, Julia Lo Bue Said, CEO Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “We are now seven months into a pandemic with a government that appears to have no thought-out strategy or concrete timescale on testing for travellers which is creating confusion and frankly utter chaos.
“While the announcement of a new Global Travel Taskforce is a step in the right direction, it does not alleviate the financial strain and frustration placed on the travel sector at this moment in time, and we need assistance now. The travel industry has been immobilised, we are a key economic driver for so many businesses across so many sectors. We employ hundreds of thousands of people and create huge amounts of tax revenue for the government and yet to date, have been totally side-lined,” she added.