Published on Thursday, September 24, 2020

The travel industry will collectively hold its breath today when Rishi Sunak rises to his feet in Parliament and sets out measures to further protect the economy.

With the furlough scheme winding up in six weeks, pressure has grown on the Chancellor to bail out the hardest hit sectors – travel among them.

Sunak yesterday cancelled the autumn budget in favour of a ‘winter economy plan’ that will aim to shore up the economy.

While no specific sector support is expected, with the government favouring a broader approach to safeguard jobs, it is likely to extend a VAT cut to 5% for hospitality and tourism industries.

But Kuoni chief executive Derek Jones said only government intervention and ‘sector specific support’ will save travel businesses.

“The travel industry, already on its knees following the ban on all overseas travel in April and the haphazard, last minute implementation of quarantine throughout the summer, is now bracing itself for at least another six months of restricted movement,” he said.

“For far too many previously successful companies, the cash has run out and tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost and with the end of furlough looming and a long, vacationless winter ahead, many more are set to follow. 

“Only decisive government intervention and sector specific support will save them now.”

UKInbound chief executive Joss Croft warned last week that members are bracing for job cuts and closures once the Job Retention Scheme ends.

“We are likely to see wholesale redundancies as we move towards the end of October and the end of the Job Retention Scheme,” he told TravelMole.

Among the key support measures expected today is a German-style scheme where taxpayers subsidise the wages of workers returning to work part time after being furloughed.

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