Published on : Saturday, January 29, 2022
The Mid Worcestershire MP visited Droitwich-based Grapevine Travel last Saturday (22 January) to talk over the issues faced by high street travel retailers and the wider travel industry.
Grapevine managing director Rod Gethinssaid that during the visit, Huddleston highlighted how he had “specifically requested” the agency’s local authority – Wychavon District Council – to “look favourably” on the ARG money made available to travel companies.
“He thought the figure would be £2,000 to £3,000, which is small, but would help,” said Gethins, who said that he had contacted Huddleston “a few times” during the pandemic, so that he can urge the government to support the retail travel.
Gethins said the sector had been “left out to dry”, and added that the voices of the ministers representing travel and tourism – Huddleston and transport secretary Grant Shapps – “had been lost in the upper echelons of government”.
Gethins said that the UK government had “absolutely not” done enough to support the travel industry during the pandemic. “[Its] priorities were elsewhere,” he said. “The thought being that agents can close while other companies remained open. Yet priority was given to business that could still trade.”
“Like most politicians I have met, [Huddleston] was a very warm and likeable fellow – and to his credit, he has always answered my queries. He and his PA Helen were very attentive,” Gethinsadded.