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Coronavirus: Grant Shapps branded 'thoughtless' after warning families not to book a summer holiday during outbreak

Grant Shapps said he would not be booking a holiday himself.

2 min read

Grant Shapps has come under fire from tourism bosses after he advised families not to book a summer holiday while the UK remains under coronavirus lockdown.

The Transport Secretary said he would not be doing so himself as he dropped a clear hint that the current restrictions could remain in place for months.

But he was branded "thoughtless" by industry bosses, who said he was undermining confidence in the sector.

Speaking to Radio Four's Today programme, Mr Shapps said: "On the travel advice – should you book your holidays? – clearly people will want to see what the trajectory of this disease is in the next few weeks.

“I won't be booking a summer holiday at this point, let's put it that way."

A spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents said: "It was a thoughtless comment and not based on any facts about what we know today about the future of the pandemic, but it shows complete disregard for the UK travel industry, the hundreds of thousands of people it employs and the struggle it is facing in this current crisis.

"It would be better if the Government focused on taking the necessary steps to support the sector rather than undermining confidence in it.

Mr Shapps also responded to mounting calls for ministers to publish their strategy for when the UK might start to exit from lockdown.

He said: "There maybe areas where we can relax things in the future, but there may also be areas where we still need to tighten things further.

"All of that will depend on the medical advice."

The Transport Secretary added: "It's unlikely in the extreme that, just as we didn't go into the lockdown in one go, we suddenly come out of it in a single press statement and everything returns back to normal.

"I don't think anyone expects that in Britain. But you can then look at different sectors and say, 'Perhaps these are the areas which can be loosened up first, perhaps in other areas we need to be equally as strict as where we are now or even a bit stricter."


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