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FirstGroup Welcomes Finalization Of Further Funding Programme From U.K. Transport Dept.

FirstGroup plc (FGROY.PK,FGROF.PK,FGP.L), a provider of transport services, said it welcomes the finalization of a further funding programme from the U.K. Department for Transport to support the provision of additional services by regional bus operators in England during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The new COVID-19 Bus Service Support Grant Restart programme builds on the support arrangements previously announced on 3 April and which were due to expire in June.

Regional bus operators in England have initially been allocated 254 million pounds in additional funding by the Transport Department under the COVID-19 Bus Service Support Grant Restart programme.

The programme will allow bus operators to increase bus service capacity in support of communities as Government guidance on travel restrictions begins to ease.

The funding amount will be kept under review to ensure that increased services can be sustained while ensuring there is enough space for passengers to observe social distancing guidelines.

The programme, which runs for an initial twelve week period backdated to 12 May, is designed to support the industry while social distancing guidelines require buses to run substantially below their potential capacity.

The company noted that Bus operators will be able to claim funding support for the difference between their revenue from passenger and other non-tendered contractual sources and the costs of operating the services.

The company noted that discussions are taking place with both the Scottish and Welsh governments to secure the additional funding necessary to support increases in bus service capacity through the recovery period.

As at 26 May 2020, the Group's undrawn committed headroom and free cash was stable at 770 million pounds. For the first month of the current financial year, cash generated by operations in our Road divisions and for the Group as a whole was positive and ahead of our projections at the outset of the month.

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