To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the potential number of job losses in the travel industry following the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
6 September 2021
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was designed as a temporary, economy-wide measure to support businesses while widespread restrictions were in place. Closing the scheme at the end of September is designed to strike the right balance between supporting the economy as it opens up, continuing to provide support and protect incomes, and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns. This approach has worked; the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Report (MPR) forecasts that the unemployment rate will on average be around 4.7% across Q3 and Q4, a downwards revision from the May MPR which projected unemployment to peak at 5.4% in Q3 and below the OBR Spring forecast (6.5% in the final quarter of 2021).
The Government recognises the particular challenges the travel industry has faced as a result of COVID-19. In England travel agents have recently benefited from Restart Grants worth up to £6,000, and can continue to benefit from the £2 billion of discretionary grant funding that has been made available to local authorities in England through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), while the aviation and aerospace sectors are being supported with over £11 billion that has been made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) and grants for research and development. In addition, airports continue to benefit from the renewed Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme announced at Budget.
The Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) report sets out a clear framework for the Government’s objective of establishing a safe and sustainable return to international travel, which is key to enabling the sector’s recovery. It has been created following extensive engagement with the international travel and tourism industries, and changes following the recent checkpoint review of the GTT are a vital step in enabling the recovery of travel operators and those whose jobs rely on the travel industry.
The Government has shown throughout the pandemic that it is prepared to adapt support if the path of the virus changes. It continues to engage closely with sectors across the economy, including the travel industry, to understand their recovery horizons as the vaccine is rolled out and restrictions ease.