The UK tourism industry had broadly welcomed the Budget delivered today by chancellor Rishi Sunak – but there were also calls for more tailored support for high street travel agents.
At the centre of the plan for the coming year was a pledge to extend the furlough scheme until the end of September.
Sunak said the scheme – which pays 80 per cent of employees’ wages for the hours they cannot work in the pandemic – would help millions through “the challenging months ahead”.
The chancellor also confirmed the lower VAT rate for hospitality firms would be maintained at five per cent until September, while some £5 billion was to be made available in restart grants for shops and other businesses in England forced to close.
ABTA welcomed the extension of general business support measures.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said: “We are pleased to see the government has responded to many of our calls to extend furlough, business rates relief and VAT reductions.
“This will help to support jobs and businesses over the coming months.
“However, the chancellor must move beyond the blind-spot concerning the impacts of international travel restrictions, and make support available to all travel companies whose business has been effectively closed by public health policy…