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Published on Thursday, November 5, 2020

'We are a committed sector': Agents take protest to heart of Scottish Parliament

Scottish agents descended on Holyrood today as they took protests over the lack of industry support to the heart of Parliament.

Dozens of industry workers joined the gathering, with Scottish Passenger Agent's Association President Joanne Dooey praising the trade's solidarity.

"The travel industry showed what a committed, professional and colourful sector we are today, turning out to make our message heard that the travel industry is being slowly and painfully strangled by the total lack of support for us," she said.

"We have had a year of zero income, we've had to refund all our income from work we undertook last year and we're facing another year with zero income on the horizon.

"I hope that politicians have listened to our message today. We need urgent, tailored help and a strategic plan for Scottish travel which includes a swiftly implemented and comprehensive testing programme at airports."

The protest took place just as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of March.

Dooey, pictured below, welcomed the move but, as with AFTA, warned it will not be enough.

"The extended furlough to spring 2021 announcement today certainly helps our employees but our businesses still have all of our fixed overheads to pay every month," she said.

"We were all encouraged to take out business loans at a time when it looked as though the 'closure' of travel would be short term and now we're faced with no income to repay these loans and banks who refuse to support us further as there's no income on the horizon.

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