July 16, 2024

BTA outlines priorities for new UK Government

The Business Travel Association has outlined its priority wishlist for the UK’s new Labour Government.

It is hoping that with the proposed nationalisation of the railways, the Government has the chance to link up the whole of the UK, “bringing nations and regions into partnership to spearhead British trade”.

“We urge the Government to get railways to pay for themselves through better price structures and a customer-centric vision,” said CEO Clive Wratten.

The association is asking for the industry to be consulted on future plans for HS2.

“HS2 is once again under review. We are not expecting the Government to find the funds in the side of a sofa. We ask that they consult businesses and corporate travellers in the regions impacted. Work with business to get this vital line completed,” said Wratten.

The BTA is also calling for the APD tax to be ring-fenced for sustainable initiatives.

“This will help get us to Net Zero and has long been an ask from the BTA,” he added.

On a matter close to his heart, Wratten added: “We will continue to consult with Government on the egregious airport drop-off fees. These fall outside of the Government mandate, but by encouraging growth and trade partnerships, we are committed to getting them rescinded through every channel possible.”

The BTA is looking to re-establish the All Party Parliamentary Group for Business Travel, which was set up during the Covid pandemic as a place for robust discussion on the needs of the sector.

Andrea Caulfield-Smith, Managing Director Global Business Travel of The Advantage Travel Partnership, also called for collaboration.

“The newly-elected Labour government now has the opportunity to recognise the vital importance of business travel, both inbound and outbound, in allowing UK businesses to thrive, develop and grow,” she said.

“We aim to strengthen our relationship with the new government through Advantage’s UK MP Engagement Program and will continue to advise our members of the activity Advantage are undertaking on their behalf to raise travel up the agenda. We will be hosting an industry-wide meeting in September to discuss the whole travel sector’s political engagement strategy post-election.

“As part of the UK Outbound Group, alongside AITO and ABTOT, we urge the Government to engage with us from the offset around the ongoing importance of the whole travel sector.”

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association, agreed sustainability was a priority for the wider industry.

“One thing we will be stressing is the need for urgent action to help the industry achieve its sustainability goals – particularly with regards to aviation. There is a plan for aviation to reach net zero but it can’t be achieved without Government support and action, and time is of the essence on this issue,” he said.

“It’s also important that policy changes are delivered in a way that protects the vast benefits that travel and tourism brings, both here at home and in communities around the world.”

A spokesperson for the new Government said: “We are committed to supporting the long-term future of the aviation sector, promoting sustainable aviation fuels and airspace modernisation.

“As with all taxes, the government keeps Air Passenger Duty under review, and any changes are announced by the Chancellor at fiscal events, taking into account the wider economic and fiscal context.”