Aviation and maritime minister Robert Courts has refused repeatedly to back sector support for the industry during a debate in the Commons.
Questioned by members from all sides, Courts repeated his assertion that “the best way we can help is by rolling out the vaccination programme and ensuring we can restart international travel in a way that protects public health”.
He was asked several times whether his department had approached the Treasury for sector support for travel, but repeated that the aviation sector had been given £7 billion and the travel sector had had other forms of support.
Tory MP Mark Jenkinson warned travel companies “still have some very rough months ahead even were travel to be unencumbered completely”.
“They have found themselves low down the grant priority list after 16 months of only refunding customers. Where the government confiscates, the government must compensate,” he said.
Courts also drew criticism for short-notice changes to the traffic light system.
Conservative Edward Leigh urged Courts “to be really honest with the British people and say ‘our advice is going to change constantly, we can’t foresee this disease, don’t go abroad this summer, if you do go abroad, you go abroad entirely at your own risk’”.
Leigh also urged the government to abandon “the rubbish pingdemic Test and Trace”.
Another Tory MP, Dr Ben Spencer, said he was disappointed at the introduction of “a new orange-red category” and urged a return to a three-prong system “rather than one covering all the colours of the rainbow”.
Courts said the system “would be kept under review”.