Ministers are being urged to consider a “parachute package” to help the business travel sector survive the year.
The Business Travel Association wants action to stem the loss of up to 10,000 jobs.
The package asks the government for:
- Financial support to cover 60% of salaries of employees in travel management companies until at least the end of 2020. This will then be repaid by those companies through 10% of profits each quarter.
- A 12-month business rates holiday to provide firms with “vitally needed” liquidity.
- A temporary, 12-month suspension of Air Passenger Duty to provide an immediate stimulus for travel, with premium economy – popular with many cost-conscious business travellers – no longer taxed in the same band as first and business class.
The BTA is also calling for the government to ‘ringfence’ 50% of it for investment in environmental measures such as the development of aviation biofuels when the tax is restored in a year’s time.
BTA chief executive Clive Wratten has written to the chancellor, transport secretary and business secretary saying: “Our industry plays a crucial role in helping British business travel and trade and, until demand returns, we urgently need government support to help us survive.
“Targeted and limited Government backing for the business travel sector will not only save many jobs in our industry, but underpin one of the vital support pillars for British business as a whole.”
Sectors such as hospitality have benefited from specific government support measures but the business travel sector has not, despite the industry providing a £220 billion a year contribution to UK GDP, the BTA argues.
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