Hundreds of coaches from across the UK were due in London on Monday morning to protest the government’s lack of support for the sector.
Organisers said 500 vehicles were expected to converge on Whitehall after an aid package proposed by the Confederation of Passenger Transport was rejected by ministers last week.
The CPT was told no help was available beyond those schemes that capture the wider economy. In addition, coach operators in England are still not considered eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).
The sector has already seen the high profile collapse of Shearings’ parent Specialist Leisure Group in May and caused David Urquhart Travel to fold its coach business.
The coach convoy have made it to London to put pressure on the government to help the UK coach industry, which has been largely ignored, causing several companies to collapse.— Claire Dutton (@Duttons4Buttons) July 20, 2020
A 'retro' Shearings coach is leading the way \uD83D\uDE0D \uD83D\uDE8C #honkforhopehttps://t.co/TvnvRCJKxi
“They have huge overheads, invest heavily in low-emission vehicles. Now neither tourism nor education revenues are open to them. They are excluded from business rates relief and the demand for their business has been slashed by government.
“Coaches are the vehicles for the future of tourism: they reduce congestion and emit a fraction of the CO2 and Nitrogen Oxide emitted by other forms of transport. This future, this lower carbon future, is now in jeopardy.”
Scenes from a noisy Parliament Square and the #honkforhope protest. It's estimated 500 coaches are taking part.— Andrew Garnett (@andrewgarnett78) July 20, 2020
Let's hope the government listens to a sector that's crucial to so many parts of the UK economy and employs over 40,000 people. pic.twitter.com/QNmehPgEuT