AITO voices anger over SBA ‘removal’
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AITO has voiced its anger over news that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is considering scrapping the small business ATOL (SBA) scheme.
The association said the ‘bolt-from-the-blue’ paper had ‘ruffled its members’ feathers’ as it affects more than 30 specialist tour operators.
It has now started talks with the CAA to reconsider the move, not only on behalf of members but to help those starting up to comply with regulations without getting tied up in red tape or huge debts.
“We have already started a dialogue with the CAA on this important issue and hope for a positive outcome. The Consultation Paper is very much a sledgehammer to crack a nut, and we hope that the CAA will reconsider. The CAA states that the SBA scheme has cost it GBP3.9M over the past five years, and that it seeks to ensure a fair and proportionate financial protection scheme,” said Derek Moore, chairman of AITO.
“We think they’ve missed the fact that the annual deficit (GBP780,000) divided by the number of SBAs (950) gives an annual deficit per company of just GBP821. Making a reasonable effort to identify the risky companies and charging each SBA a few hundred pounds more per annum would thus wipe out the deficit and would be far more cost-effective than what is currently proposed. It would also avoid substantial extra costs being incurred by a good many special–interest holiday companies – costs that would, inevitably, need to be passed on to consumers,” he added.
He urged the CAA to look at tackling ‘rogue traders’ individually rather than ‘punishing’ all small businesses.
Moore added: “Unfortunately, there seems to be a general malaise in Government – rogue traders are allowed to continue operating outside the law, many internet-based businesses remain unregulated, and all the talk about supporting SMEs appears to be mere empty words. AITO feels that the time has come to fight back.”
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