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Coach and Bus Sector: Covid-19

Volume 680: debated on Thursday 17 September 2020

What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the viability of the coach and bus sector. (906245)

I am the Minister for active travel, and these steps I am getting now are quite productive for my step count.

The Department works closely with the bus and coach sectors to assess the ongoing impact of covid-19 on their industries.

Many of the coach companies based in my constituency are family-run businesses, and they inform me that they are facing a year-and-a-half-long winter in economic terms as a result of the covid pandemic. They are, of course, vital cogs in the tourism sector, yet they cannot access covid-related hospitality, leisure and tourism funding. What discussions is the Minister having with colleagues in the Treasury and the devolved Governments to address this anomaly?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. My Department has been in regular contact with the representatives of the coach industry, and we have been working very closely together. Officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also engage with the Coach Tourism Association via the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group. My Department has helped to put together the package for home to school transport—a £40 million package that is benefiting the sector. We have regular conversations with the Treasury, and it is clear that the £330 billion of Government support through loans and guarantees can reach parts of this sector, too.