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Covid-19: Transport Sector

Transport – in the House of Commons on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Anne McLaughlin Anne McLaughlin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Women), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Equalities)

What steps his Department is taking to support the transport sector during the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Transport

The Government have announced financial support measures worth £350 billion and are working with the sector to overcome specific challenges.

Photo of Anne McLaughlin Anne McLaughlin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Women), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Equalities)

We have heard about the challenges of the aviation industry, including the threat of 12,000 BA redundancies, but the entire transport industry is worried. Haulage is seeing volumes dropping and revenues plummeting, the coaching sector faces imminent ruin, and holiday companies have no idea if the Government will stand by them and their customers. What specific action is the Secretary of State taking to ensure we actually have a transport industry left when all this is over?

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Transport

The answer is a multi-billion pound programme that rescued our railways; £400 million used to keep our bus services going; and a multi-million pound plan for critical freight routes, which enabled us to keep 16 routes available, with 17 different contracts in place, ensuring vital food and supplies to this country.

Photo of Huw Merriman Huw Merriman Chair, Transport Committee, Chair, Transport Committee

The Secretary of State will be aware that the aviation industry is a sector in need of support. Will he consider airbridges so that those entering the UK from countries where the infection rate is below one would not be subject to quarantine? This would boost confidence in aviation travel and target safety where it is most needed.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Transport

In answer to a previous question, I should say that final details of the quarantine scheme will be released soon and come in early next month. We should indeed consider further improvements—for example, airbridges enabling people from other countries that have achieved lower levels of coronavirus infection to come to the country, but those are active discussions that go beyond what will initially be a blanket situation.