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Published on Monday, April 20, 2020

Government 'close' to announcing industry relief package



The Government is reportedly close to agreeing a £4 billion relief package for the travel industry.





According to the Sunday Telegraph, ministers are drawing up plans to guarantee refunds to customers who have had their holidays cancelled because of Covid-19.


The package, which will allow ATOL-protected companies to offer credit notes backed by a Government guarantee, is being overseen transport secretary Grant Shapps and business secretary Alok Sharma, with the help of ATOL chief Andy Cohen, the Telegraph says.


The Government guarantee will ensure customers get their money back in the event their travel provider fails.


The Department for Transport would not comment on the report.


A spokesperson said: "The aviation sector is important to the UK economy, and firms can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the chancellor, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.


"We are continuing to work closely with the sector and are willing to consider the situation of individual firms, so long as all other government schemes have been explored and all commercial options exhausted, including raising capital from existing investors."


AITO director of industry affairs Noel Josephides said the Government needed to move quickly.


He said: "We've read in the weekend newspapers that Government is likely to produce a rescue package of some kind for the travel industry.


"Speed is of the essence, and certainty for the industry is vital - continuing the current speculation and hoping against hope for something positive is unfortunately fuelling the problem still further.


"We hope Grant Shapps can deliver the clarity required by confirming that the PTRs will be amended in the UK to enable financially-protected credit vouchers to be issued and to provide the  much-needed breathing space required in the current unprecedented situation. 


"Otherwise, with the ending of the latest furlough arrangements at the end of June, there will doubtless be mass unemployment within the travel industry."

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