Hundreds of coaches expected to take to A1 as companies call on the Government to help save their industry

Hundreds of coaches will take to the A1 tomorrow as owners of travel firms renew their call for Government support to save their industry.

By Fiona Thompson
Thursday, 6th August 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 7th August 2020, 11:24 am

Honk for Hope UK is part of a Europe-wide movement, with firms coming together for rallies as they campaign for help to keep them going while the country begins to recover from the coronavirus lockdown.

It is feared firms will have to make drivers redundant as the Government’s furlough scheme comes to an end, while they have missed out on the money they usually make during the summer, which usually helps support their accounts year-round.

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Coaches heading down the A1 from Durham as companies took part in last month's Honk for Hope UK convoy from Washington Services to Lightwater Valley.

Thursday, August 6, will see around 250 coaches head to Edinburgh in a convoy, with around 90, including many from North East operators planning, to join from Purdy Lodge, at the junction with the B1341.

They will set off at around 9.30am and aim to join others on a route through the city centre, with around 20 to divert their journey to pass the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood.

The event’s organisers, who fear 40% of coach drivers could be redundant by the end of the year, say it has been planned with the help of the authorities.

Others have already been held in Blackpool and through central London.

He said: “This is to unite all the companies and also those in Scotland because we are still trying to get funding and support for our industry.

"The payment holiday period is going to end soon and so will furlough, so we would like a payment break until next Easter.

"We also want finance companies to remove personal guarantees so that people’s homes aren’t at risk.

"We would like grants, as others have been given, and we're also asking the Government to help with the finance holidays, as the companies are adding to the monthly payment, rather than adding it to the end of the loan’s term.

"If this continues, we're going to see a lot of companies sink.”

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