Coach Firms Call on Government Support During Crisis

Coach operators have warned the government that they risk financial collapse if they are not given urgent support, with passenger numbers and bookings plummeting during the pandemic.

Many coach and bus firms are paying heavily for finance deals on vehicles that are sitting idle. Some worried bosses have said that their fleet will be repossessed within weeks if something doesn’t change.

In response to the calls, the DfT said that it would work closely with the coach sector. However, coach firms have said that it is already unfair that they haven’t received the same funding as bus companies to meet their lost earnings, from cancelled trips and from the reduced capacities required to maintain social distancing.

Some coach company owners even have personal guarantees on their coach fleets, so a single default risks bankruptcy – especially as the only support to date has been the employee furlough support scheme, rather than any financial business support.

Although councils have been able to offer smaller grants – say a single payment of £5,000 to affected companies, many have fleet repayments each month that match this figure alone.

North East Coach Travel in Newcastle is just one of the industry’s businesses calling on the government to make lenders offer more generous repayment terms. The company has said that if no government support is forthcoming, and if lockdown persists, the industry may not be there in future.

The situation has been made even worse by the fact that coach companies have not been included in the rates relief grant, with ministers determining that the sector didn’t fall within tourism, hospitality, leisure or travel. Furthermore, research suggests that up to 85% of coach firms haven’t received any kind of grant at all, with operators now facing an even more challenging position over winter when traveller numbers tend to fall anyway.

The DfT said that it recognised how hard the coach sector had been hit by Covid and that it was working closely to offer support and to anticipate further challenges down the line. It added that the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan would help to outline the specific support on offer for UK businesses.

Accessing vital finance

Businesses across the country are feeling the strain now that England is back under national lockdown measures. In many cases, insufficient government funding is available to guarantee solvency, or to allow businesses to pivot and position themselves for success in the changing economy.

At Century Business Finance, we offer quick and ready business loans of £10,000 to £150,000 for any purpose. With no upfront fees or early repayment charges, these loans can be helpful as you assess your business finance options during Covid and beyond – and you can choose a repayment term of up to 2 years as well.

With no need for complex paperwork or face to face meetings, we make it easy to apply for your loan with a short online form. Our team are on hand to assess your application and make a quick decision, with your funds typically being available just 24 hours after approval.

Ready to shore up your business finances as we face the next few months together? Contact the Century Business Finance team for any queries, or simply apply online now for your business loan.

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