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Coach company Shearings collapses into administration

LaToya Harding
Shearing

Specialist Leisure Group, owner of coach company Shearings, has collapsed into administration, putting around 2,400 jobs at risk.

More than 64,000 bookings have been cancelled as a result.

Travel trade association Abta said the coronavirus pandemic is the main reason for its failure as it battled with thousands of refunds and a stop to new bookings.

EY, the company’s administrator had tried to find a buyer to maintain the travel group as a going concern but it had not been possible.

The Wigan-based company, which also owned National Holidays, Wallace Arnold Travel and Bay Hotels, was founded in 1919 but was an amalgamation of companies dating back as far as 1903.

Richard Calvert, SLG chief executive, said: "This is a terribly sad day for employees, customers and commercial partners of the Specialist Leisure Group and its subsidiaries which have entered into administration.

"The effects of Covid-19 on our 117-year-old company and the wider travel industry have been devastating. 

“In the most trying of circumstances, over these past few months, we have fought tooth and nail to save the group and the jobs of our 2,400 loyal employees serving over 1.1 million customers annually.”

He added: “It is heart-breaking that the required funding or investment could not be secured to get us through this unprecedented crisis in order to save SLG and our amazing travel brands."

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Anyone with a package holiday including a flight can claim their money back through Atol, which is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority. 

Customers with hotel-only bookings have been advised to contact their credit or debit card provider to retrieve their money.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport’s (CPT), the trade body for bus and coach operators, also said it was a “sad day for all those involved”.

Graham Vidler, CPT’s chief executive, said: “Today’s events show the need for the Government to urgently step in and provide support to the wider coach tourism industry, during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been lacking to date.”