Breaking News: Free travel for poorer families

© Chris Downer

MPs ARE RECOMMENDING free or subsidised travel for poorer families funded by taxpayers to avoid social exclusion and boost the UK travel industry.

A cross-parliamentary report, published yesterday, demonstrated the social and economic advantages of Social Tourism, which would create huge savings for the health and justice system.

The report gathered evidence from 26 organisations, including ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), the British Holiday Association and the Barnados charity and estimates the  a £5 billion boost to the economy.

The conclusion was reached by All-Party Group on Social Tourism, which is managed by the Family Holiday Association.

Lagging behind Europe

The Guardian reported in 2005 that Britain lags behind other European countries in helping poorer families afford holidays, which can help improve physical and mental health and encourage positive relationships.

The report claimed that approximately 25% of the British population do not take a holiday, mainly due to family break-ups, low income, long-term illness and disability.

In 2003, the Department for Work and Pensions stated that the inability to go on holiday once a year was an indicator of social exclusion in measuring child poverty.

The Family Holiday Association (FHA) have presented evidence that demonstrate these detrimental effects and argued that the government need to prioritize the initiative.

The All-Party Group are recommending that a wider study is made by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, the UK tourism industries and local authorities into the economic impact.

– Monica Sarkar

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