UKHospitality Scotland calls for Covid underspend to be used to ease energy costs

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

UKHospitality Scotland calls on Government to repurpose Covid underspend to ease energy costs

Related tags Energy costs ukhospitality Coronavirus Government Business rate relief

UKHospitality Scotland has called on the country's devolved government to repurpose underspend from Covid support funds to help ease hospitality's spiraling energy and supply costs.

Yesterday (16 June), a report from Audit Scotland examining the impact of the Covid crisis on public spending revealed that of the £15.5bn allocated by the Scottish Government to its pandemic response in 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years, £11.8bn has been reported as being spent.

Commenting on the findings, Leon Thompson, executive director for UKHospitality Scotland, said: “The report from the Auditor General highlights a considerable underspend in the allocation of Covid support funds. The funds spent by the Scottish Government provided a lifeline to businesses, but the challenges for hospitality continue.

“With increased energy bills, of up to and in some instances exceeding 200%, rising supply costs and customers already scaling back on discretionary spend, now is the time to consider how it can allocate this underspend to support businesses.”

Thompson suggested an obvious way for the Scottish Government to help would be to extend business rate relief for the remainder of this financial year. 

He added that ministers should also look at ways to support businesses manage their uncapped energy bills.

“Our sector remains in a fragile state. If the Scottish Government has unspent business support funds then they must be used to help businesses through these new challenges.”

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