Abta has published a list of demands sent to chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of next week’s Budget.
The demands were set out in a blog by the association’s chief executive Mark Tanzer (pictured) and include renewed calls for targeted support for companies in the sector, the need for an appropriate taxation framework to allow recovery, allocation of unspent local authority grants and an update on support for firms unable to access business rates relief.
The association said the letter to the chancellor had been sent last month, with demands for the Budget to be used to:
- Provide an update on the additional £1.5bn to provide targeted support for businesses which have been unable to benefit from the existing business rates relief. This was originally announced on 25 March 2021 but the support has yet to be made available.
- Urge local authorities to prioritise travel businesses for financial support under the Additional Restrictions Grant funding – with £300m left unspent, councils need to make sure that travel agents and tour operators are getting this much-needed funding.
- Provide tailored financial support for the travel sector in the form of specific recovery grants for travel agents, tour operators and other businesses dependent on international travel.
Tanzer added: “We also stressed the need to make sure the right taxation framework is in place to support the industry’s recovery. Several of our members have reported concerns with plans to increase corporation tax to 25% from 2023, especially with the industry on a much slower recovery trajectory.
“Abta has also supported wider calls for reform to the current business rates system. It is important that a system is found that does not continue to disadvantage high street retailers, which are an important part of communities across the country.”
The chancellor was also urged to look at the role of APD in the industry’s recovery, with Abta citing the impact of VAT cuts in supporting the domestic tourism sector.
It said: “These cuts have no impact on companies selling package holidays or on the outbound travel sector. APD is the only comparable measure that HM Treasury has at its disposal.
“Abta supports a short-term reduction in this tax to boost recovery, but also continues to highlight the need for fundamental reform to deliver a more environmentally efficient regime.”
It added: “With the COP26 climate conference about to get underway in Glasgow, we recogise the importance of governments around the world coming together to reduce carbon emissions.
“As a member of Sustainable Aviation, Abta is asking the UK government to work in partnership with the industry, through the Jet Zero Council, to deliver the policy framework, including airspace modernisation and investment in sustainable aviation fuels, that will be necessary to reach the government’s carbon-reduction target.”