Change of wording

Ministers accused of misleading firms over grants

Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes: told MSPs the grant applied to each property

A group of hospitality and retail bodies have accused Scottish ministers of misleading companies on how a new support package will be allocated.

Ministers initially said the £25,000 grant scheme would apply to each property, but applicants now find that it applies to each company.

Some firms have laid off staff on the understanding that each property would benefit from the grant.

In a letter to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, says a number of firms have found that the grant scheme “seems to have become much more restricted than when it was first announced to Parliament on 18 March.”

Ms Forbes and Fergus Ewing, the Rural Economy Secretary, said in parliament on 18 March that the £25,000 grant would be applicable for each “property” operated by a business. This was re-stated in the accompanying press statement on that day and reaffirmed in a further press release issued on 28 March.

“However, firms are telling us that when completing the applications the reality is that it is one grant per firm/company, rather than one grant for each property that a firm has.

“Many of these firms, who sustain hundreds of jobs in communities right across Scotland, have already taken decisions in light of the 18 March announcement and support package in order to combat the immense cash flow challenges that they face.”

The STA, whose members include the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Retail Consortium, and UKHospitality, have demanded early clarity on the situation.

The Scottish Government has been asked to comment.

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