Abta urges trade to apply for £300m in unspent grants

Abta has urged agents and operators to “be persistent” because there is up to £300 million of unspent Additional Restrictions Grant funding which could be allocated travel companies across England.

Luke Petherbridge, Abta’s director of public affairs, said the funding is available to agencies, travel management companies and tour operators across England.

He urges firms to contact their council – and “to be persistent” – in a bid to secure funding for their businesses.

The association notes there is no restriction on the number of grants a business may receive – and updated government guidance to encourages local authorities to focus their support on “those sectors that remain closed or are severely impacted by the extended restrictions, even if those businesses have already been in receipt of Restart Grants”.

Abta has previously written to every council in England to urge them to target support to the travel industry.

And chief executive, Mark Tanzer, this week wrote to business minister, Paul Scully, and tourism minister Nigel Huddleston, to ask them to remind councils of the government’s updated guidance, as well as to urge local authorities to prioritise travel companies within the £1.5 billion discretionary business rates relief scheme, funding for which is due with councils in the coming weeks.

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Abta ramps up pressure for financial support amid ‘deepening crisis’

With the Budget taking place on October 27, Abta has also written to chancellor Rishi Sunak, reiterating the case for dedicated grants for travel businesses, and calling for the extension of business rates relief.

Petherbridge said: “While the relaxation of a number of restrictions means that things are starting to look up for international travel, the majority of our members have been starved of cash over the last 18 months.

“So, although it is easier for people to travel, without financial support some companies will find it difficult to get through these next few months, which is why we are urging them to pursue the Additional Restrictions Grant funding.

“Members can see what is left in their local authority’s pot by checking the spreadsheet in ABTA’s MemberZone.

“If the funding is available, we would urge members to get in touch directly with their local authority and to be persistent – providing evidence on how your business has been restricted over recent months and highlighting the guidance from government that urges support for travel companies.

“We know from the stories of members that have been successful that perseverance is important.”

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