March 25 2021
In this week’s blog CPT’s Head of External Relations Tom Bartošák-Harlow recaps yesterday’s Transport Select Committee, where the topic of discussion was the coach industry.
Yesterday morning we saw the Transport Select Committee hold a one-off evidence session on the issues facing the coach sector. In case you missed it, you can watch it back here or if you have not got a spare couple of hours, head to CPT’s Twitter account to read the highlights.
The session itself, which CPT had asked for earlier this year, was an opportunity for CPT and operators to highlight to a committee of senior MPs the challenges and difficulties that the coach sector faces. All the operators did a superb job of showcasing just how much the pandemic and the lack of support has impacted their business. Thank you to Nigel, Candice and Mick for your efforts.
When it came to the ministers’ turn it was the same story we have heard for several months now that no sector specific support will be forthcoming. Regrettably, what we saw was a perfect example of how, despite widespread support across Parliament and ministers understanding the issues facing the sector, they ultimately decide not to take any action. I and the rest of CPT continue to tell ministers this is the wrong decision.
There were however some positives. Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston reiterated his belief that local authorities should be providing coach operators with the additional restrictions grant and highlighted that guidelines had been updated to this effect; please do contact your local authority if you have not already and ask for this grant. Both Nigel Huddleston and Baroness Vere, Minister for Roads, Buses and Place, highlighted that they believe the coach sector would have a crucial role in helping tourism bounce back and committed to helping ensure that the wider public were aware of the benefits of coach travel.
Looking ahead, next week will see the launch of CPT’s coach strategy, which sets out all the benefits of coach travel and what we need to see the sector play a central role in kick starting UK tourism and longer-term goals of reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality. Alongside the strategy will be a toolkit for members to help you make the case for coaches locally, please do get involved and continue to back Britain’s coaches.