Consider extending the furlough scheme for those industries still being affected. The travel industry for example is still directly affected by decisions the government is making in regard to travel restrictions and quarantine which is preventing us from trading properly.
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Whilst many industries are now able to trade either fully or partially, the travel industry is being disproportionately affected by travel restrictions and quarantines being imposed by the government. Many people have spent their lives working in the industry and once all this is over, those skilled employees will be once again required to plan and take the nation on holiday. Whilst restrictions remain in place, imposed by the government we cannot trade fully or make a recovery.
The Government will continue to provide comprehensive support to sectors and the economy as a whole to ensure that jobs and livelihoods are protected.
The Government recognises the challenging times facing the travel industry as a result of COVID-19. The sector is important to the UK economy, and firms in the sector are able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees and VAT deferrals. The measures have been designed to ensure that firms of any size receive the help they need to get through this difficult time.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is specifically designed to protect jobs and support businesses threatened by the pandemic, across the whole country and across all sectors. The scheme has successfully protected over 9 million jobs to date, and will close after running for eight full months.
However, the Government’s judgement has been that it would be extremely challenging to extend the CJRS for specific sectors in a fair and deliverable way, and to do so may not be the most effective or sensible means by which to provide longer term support for those sectors most affected by COVID-19.
It would also be difficult to target the CJRS at specific sectors without creating distortions, particularly since many firms work across multiple sectors. There are other schemes including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme that can provide support to firms in the travel industry. Businesses in the travel industry will also be able to claim under the Job Support Scheme if they meet the eligibility criteria. More guidance will be published shortly.
If firms across the most affected sectors find themselves in severe and urgent financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19, even following the Government‘s cross-economy wage and financial interventions, then the Government remains open to discussions about bespoke financial support but only as a last resort. Any intervention would need to be on terms appropriate to protect the interests of taxpayers.