Travel agents have slammed chancellor Alistair Darling’s pre-Budget report for failing to support small businesses and the travel trade.

Concern has also been raised by the trade that the decision to increase Air Passenger Duty in 2010 would deter people from travelling long haul. Meanwhile, a pledge by Darling to help small businesses through a £1billion Small Business FinanceScheme was dismissed as unhelpful.

Sandra Murray, director of Sandy Travel in Normanton, West Yorkshire, said: “The government should be giving us help, not making it harder for us. Hopefully, people visiting family and friends in places like Australia will still go, but it is a disappointing decision.”

Ripon Travel chairman Bernard Bateman from Ripon added: “Whatever people borrow they will still have to pay it back. This is just storing up problems for later.”

Advantage chief executive John Mc-Ewan said: “The increases in APD are staggering and will certainly discourage many people from travelling.”

Travel and the pre-budget report