Moray MP Douglas Ross raised the lack of financial support for coach companies in the House of Commons, highlighting how essential the sector is for re-establishing the tourism industry that is so vital for Moray and the rest of Scotland.
Speaking after Treasury Questions, Douglas said: “I raised the fact that our coach industry is going to be vital as the country opens up in our recovery from Covid-19. Local Moray firm Mayne’s of Buckie and owner Kevin Mayne have been leading calls for a bespoke deal to support the coach industry along with many others and I was disappointed with the response from the Minister, but there are alternatives to a bespoke deal that can be considered.
“While I understand the issue with seeking a separate deal for each and every sector, it’s clear to me the coach industry is not only crucial for our economy, they have largely been overlooked by both the UK and Scottish Governments in terms of financial support during this crisis. I’ve had a number of discussions with coach operators in Moray and they are all suffering at this time.
“I’ve previously written to UK and Scottish Government Ministers about how important the coach industry is and the urgent need for financial support. Those running bus companies have received some support to compensate them for the drop in passenger numbers but coach operators have not.
“The coach sector is absolutely essential to help get our economy up and running again. Tourism is the lifeblood for many people in Moray and we need to ensure that our local coaches are there to help bring tourists here and to take them to the many excellent tourist destinations that we have, encouraging return visits in the future.
“The Covid-19 pandemic hit the coach industry particularly hard with operators suffering an almost total loss of business when the restrictions came into force. Even with employees furloughed, companies continued to face many large fixed costs. A single coach sitting idle was costing the operators, on average, £250 a day. This is why it’s crucial we look at all options to support local firms and the wider industry right across the UK.”