ABTA’s solicitors have sent the UK government a formal ‘letter before claim’ as a precursor to judicial review proceedings, identifying legal issues in dispute following the announcement of what ABTA calls ‘a very limited restart of international travel’ by the government, which threatens the recovery of the already struggling travel sector.
“We would far rather that adequate financial support for the sector could be given without the need to turn to legal action,” said Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s Chief Executive. “This letter asks for a formal government response within the next two weeks. If we can’t resolve this issue by then, we may be compelled to issue legal proceedings.”
ABTA explains that its letter before claim argues that the government has unlawfully failed to take account of relevant considerations during the decision-making process regarding financial support packages and failed to undertake economic impact assessments to determine the effect of ongoing restrictions on the UK travel sector.
Travel needs a serious pick-me-up
“ABTA is specifically challenging the level of financial support given to the UK travel sector including by way of restart grants in comparison with other economic sectors such as hospitality and personal care, which have secured higher levels of funding despite having more certainty of income,” ABTA continues to explain in its press release, adding that its solicitors are to argue that the government ‘arbitrarily and unlawfully’ failed to differentiate between the UK travel sector and other non-essential retail businesses when providing financial assistance.
In May 2021, the UK government announced the country’s ‘green list’ of travel destinations, which currently excludes key destinations such as France, Spain and Greece. ABTA has called for more countries to be opened up, using the traffic light system to manage risk, at the next review of traffic light countries due in early June.