Scottish Government unveils targeted support package for tourism and hospitality

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Scottish Government unveils targeted support package for tourism and hospitality

Related tags Scotland Government Coronavirus tier system lockdown Coronavirus

The Scottish Government has pledged a £104.3m package of support for tourism and hospitality, much of which will be targeted at licensed hospitality businesses that previously fell through the cracks.

The funding is part of the short term response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations, and follows lengthy discussions with industry representatives to direct support specifically where it is needed the most.

As part of the package, £50.8m will be made available for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 that have not received support from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Hotel Support Programme.

It will also go towards providing some additional support to smaller businesses impacted by restrictions.

Additionally, £19.2m will be used to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses.

The Scottish Government states that further work will be urgently undertaken to establish what additional support is needed in light of the decision to move mainland Scotland to the toughest Level 4 restrictions from Boxing Day, which will mean all hospitality businesses must close apart from for takeaway and delivery.

Currently, businesses required to close by law are able to claim up to £3,000 every four weeks through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

Earlier this month, Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes came under fire​ for failing to offer greater long-term support for the sector. 

Responding to the Scottish Government's latest announcement, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said it welcomed the additional funding package, but added that the news had been marred by news of the increased restrictions set to be introduced.

“We welcome the extra support for the sector in general after branding the package of support announced earlier this month by Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes, as bad as hearing a ‘Christmas cracker joke’," said SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson.

“However, these additional financial support measures have been marred by the earlier-than-expected lockdown payback measures that the industry had been anticipating.

“These new constraints will have an even greater negative impact on the sector and those in the supply chain at this time as we are losing any resemblance of the vitally important Christmas and New Year trade.

“In light of this development the Scottish Government will need to urgently review the provision of ongoing, realistic financial compensation if the sector and the staff that it employs are to be here after spring 2021 and part Scotland’s economic recovery.

“We remember Christmas past, we are suffering Christmas present, and who knows what Christmas future will bring. With the right support, delivered now, businesses might just survive in 2021 to once again provide the festive celebrations that we will miss so dearly.”

Willie Macleod, executive director for UKHospitality Scotland, who helped secure the funding from the Scottish Government on behalf of the sector, also welcomed the announcement, adding that he would continue to work with MSPs in Holyrood to ensure they are fully aware of the support required by all hospitality businesses.

“The hospitality and tourism sectors in Scotland have taken a huge hit this year so these specific grants for hospitality businesses are to be welcomed," he said.

"We are glad that ministers have worked closely with us and acted on our concerns and come forward with this package of targeted financial support, which will be a lifeline for those businesses excluded from previous support such as hotels, wedding venues, nightclubs and tour operators.

“However, the outlook for the coming months remains very bleak with businesses set to remain closed or severely hampered by restrictions.

"We will continue to work closely with Government to ensure they are fully aware of the support required by all hospitality businesses to get through this and so they are able to play their part in the economic recovery.”

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