Monday 3 August 2020 5:05 pm

Business travel firms call for government help to avoid 10,000 job cuts

The UK’s business travel sector has called on the government to provide it with an emergency rescue package to help prevent up to 10,000 jobs being lost this year.

The chief executive of industry body the Business Travel Association (BTA) has written to chancellor Rishi Sunak, transport secretary Grant Shapps and business secretary Alok Sharma to lay out the deal.

Read more: Exclusive: Half of business travel jobs at risk, says BTA boss

“Targeted and limited Government backing for the business travel sector will not only save many jobs in our industry, but underpin one of the vital support pillars for British business as a whole”, wrote Clive Wratten.

Under the deal, the BTA has called on the government to providefinancial support to cover 60 per cent of salaries of employees in business travel companies until at least the end of 2020.

This will then be repaid by those companies through 10 per cent of profits each quarter. 

It also asked for a 12-month business rates holiday to provide firms with vitally needed liquidity. 

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Finally, it called for a temporary, year-long suspension of air passenger duty to provide an immediate stimulus for travel.

The BTA also said that with Premium Economy class should no longer be taxed in the same band as First and Business Class.

When the tax is restored in a year’s time, the BTA is also calling for the government to “ringfence” 50 per cent of it for investment in environmental measures such as the development of aviation biofuels.

Read more: Corporate travel firms call for business air bridges to avoid quarantine

Wratten added: “Our industry plays a crucial role in helping British business travel and trade and, until demand returns, we urgently need government support to help us survive.”

According to the BTA, the business travel industry providing a £220bn a year contribution to UK GDP.