Omicron: Growing concern over grant support for coaches
Concern has been raised about grants from government to support local leisure and hospitality businesses, including coach firms, hit by the Omicron wave.
In December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer pledged £683m for businesses to assist them during the introduction of “Plan B” rules, following the mass cancellation of leisure trips as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 swept through the country.
Reports this weekend suggested that there was concern that many local authorities may be slow to release grant cash for coach firms, as detailed guidance was only updated on 12 January after originally being issued on 30 December.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy guidance outlines that checks need to be made before allocation by councils, slowing the process of receiving money. The government has however said it expects grants paid by the end of March with a decision on allocation by end of February.
But calls have been made for the trickle of cash to be sped up as hard-hit coach firms and other leisure and hospitality businesses require it to continue operating.
We are concerned that the money may be slow to release for leisure businesses, including coach companies.
Additionally, we have highlighted to the government how coach businesses have suffered as a result of Omicron cancellations.
As part of our work on the broader grants issue, we have also asked the government today (17 January) for other grants to be extended to coach firms.