Should we be saying "thank you, chancellor" or "could do better, chancellor"?
Rishi Sunak delivered his Budget statement on Wednesday (3 March), and the extension of the business rates holiday and furlough schemes are both welcome.
But why not also use the furlough scheme to pay people to work? Paying operational teams managing holiday deferrals, who work without generating income, could easily be audited by cross-checks across payroll, National Insurance and HMRC payments.
Job retention only has meaning if the business survives this crisis for the employee to return to; otherwise, it is an expensive way to pay unemployment benefit in advance.
Other considerable costs for tour operators include merchant acquirers, insurance and bond providers – all of whom have upped their cash security demands dramatically. Where can operators find cash with no income for more than a year?
A quick poll of Aito members suggests bookings made since the government’s roadmap announcement are for late 2021/22; companies will receive no cash until close to departure dates.
Loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) are more difficult to obtain as banks shy away from lending to travel companies, unless you want a few billion.
We hope lenders for the new Recovery Loan Scheme, announced by the chancellor, will be more accommodating.