March 17 2020

CPT’s external relations executive Hannah Patmore outlines the key points for the bus and coach industry announced in last week’s Budget 2020.

On Wednesday 11th March Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced his first budget, calling it “a plan for today for prosperity tomorrow”.

Unsurprisingly, given it is currently gripping the country, the Chancellor began by addressing the coronavirus pandemic currently affecting the UK. He promised the NHS would get whatever financial support needed to fight the outbreak, and announced measures to help small businesses who will be feeling the impacts of the pandemic.

For operators this means that if you employ less than 250 people and an employee has to self-isolate then you can reclaim the cost of statutory sick pay from the Government, and if you qualify for small business rate relief you should be eligible for a £3,000 grant to help with ongoing business costs.

We heard good news for the industry as significant investments are being made in England’s transport infrastructure, with £27billion for strategic road networks, and £4.2billion for integrated transport settlements in eight city regions. By 2022-2023 we will see the delivery of projects funded by the transforming cities fund, including ones with bus elements in Derby, Bournemouth and Southampton. There were rumours that details would be announced about how the £5billion pledged for bus and cycling will be allocated, but this will now come in the Spending Review this summer.

It’s no secret that in some parts of England poor air quality is putting local residents’ health at risk, so it was a welcome announcement that £304million has been allocated to local authorities in England to take steps to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Exact details of where the funding will be allocated are unclear, but it is likely it will help with ensuring compliance to Clean Air Zones, to clean up the air and help the UK reach net-zero by 2050. CPT will continue to call for a national clean air fund to end the postcode lottery of funding.

As we neared the end of the Budget, the Chancellor announced that in an investment deal worth £1.1billion, from May 2021 the West Yorkshire region will have an elected Mayor able to make decisions on local transport provision. Bus operators across the region have a strong relationship with local leaders, and look forward to working with the Mayor to continue to deliver improved services. You can read the reaction of CPT’s Regional Manager for the North and Yorkshirehere.

Overall though this was a budget dominated by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and the CPT team are working hard to ensure that the bus and coach sectors get the support they need as the situation develops.

You can read the documents associated with the Budget here

To read CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler’s reactions to the Budget click here