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Chancellor's spring statement welcomed with cautious optimism

GTMC and UKinbound encouraged by measures unveiled by chancellor Philip Hammond
13/03/2018

Pictured: chancellor Philip Hammond

Travel trade associations have welcomed the chancellor’s spring statement with cautious optimism.

Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled a number of measures that will affect business travel and tourism in the statement, including new infrastructure and the development of 5G technology.

Adrian Parkes, chief executive of the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) said: “The increase in research and development funding with the first allocation for the development of 5G technology is welcome news for the business travel community – particularly those who travel by rail – and seek to improve productivity whilst on the move.

Likewise, the announcement that cities will now be invited to bid for financing from the new Transforming Cities Fund announced last November is also positive. In order to build opportunities for growth beyond London and the South East businesses in regions across the UK need the infrastructure and routes to travel. It is also encouraging to see support for small businesses maintained with the allocation of a fund to engage apprentices.

He added that it was important for business owners, business travellers and the government to remember that opportunities for growth lie not only in the domestic market but also overseas.

“Any future investment plans, bids and decisions made around investment in business growth and regional transport networks must pay careful consideration to improving transport links not only on our road and rail networks but also on surface connections to regional airports to enable travel and growth both within the UK and on an international scale,” he said.

UKinbound welcomed several policies that it said would have a positive effect on the UK’s tourism industry, including the building of new homes, improved transport in English cities, digital connectivity and Air Passenger Duty (APD) consultation in Northern Ireland.

UKinbound chief executive officer Deirdre Wells said: “I am encouraged by today’s Spring Statement which included several policies that directly impact on the UK’s tourism industry. These include improving England’s transport links, digital connectivity and consulting on the impact of Air Passenger Duty and VAT.”

“Affordable housing has also been highlighted by a number of our members as a reason their EU employees are starting to return home so we are encouraged that the Government is ‘getting on with the job’ of building more affordable homes, which should help encourage skilled EU workers, that our industry heavily relies on, to stay in the UK post Brexit.

“It is also encouraging that a review has been confirmed into the impact of APD and VAT on tourism in Northern Ireland. Along with our tourism partners, we will be calling on all those in the industry to submit evidence they have that demonstrates its negative impact.”


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