Call to 'start spending'
Hospitality firms say £40m fund ‘not enough’
There are fears that some pubs may have to shut permanently (pic: Terry Murden)
The Scottish Government has been urged to start spending the £700 million of additional funding allocated by Westminster to support businesses through the pandemic.
Trade body UKHospitality said the £40m set aside to help pubs and restaurants “will not be enough” and is calling for urgent action to keep businesses afloat.
The Scottish Conservatives also urged the SNP government start spending the new funds.
The criticism comes as the SNP government has announced how companies may apply for the £40m fund.
UKHospitality executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod said: “Financial support for hospitality businesses, which are either closed or operating under severe restrictions, and supply chain businesses is welcome.
“The reality is, however, that the £40 million pot made available by the Scottish Government is not going to be nearly enough. It will be nowhere near enough to offset the massive hit businesses have taken. It will not keep businesses afloat and it will not keep enough jobs safe.
“Compulsory closures in the central belt and the trading restrictions elsewhere are biting hard.
“The Scottish Government must go further. It needs to announce as soon as possible how it will use its share, understood to be £700m, of the £1.3bn allocated last Friday by the Chancellor to the devolved governments.
“There must also be a change in the way these restrictions are being rolled-out.
“It is increasingly incumbent on government to provide adequate notice of restrictions being placed on businesses and, at the same time, provide full details of how these businesses will be supported.”
The Scottish Conservative party accused the SNP government not having paid out “a single penny” of the £700m and said it had identified nearly £1 billion of funding in total that the SNP have held back from delivering to Scottish businesses.
Scottish Conservative economy spokesman, Maurice Golden, said: “Businesses across Scotland are on their knees and the SNP Government is leaving them waiting weeks for a financial lifeline.
“Rishi Sunak has delivered an extra £700 million to support businesses and the SNP have another £270 million from the Growth Scheme and Digital Fund that they haven’t bothered to use.
“There’s nearly a billion pounds sitting in SNP coffers while struggling businesses are forced to close their doors – some of them for good.
“Yet the SNP still haven’t paid out a penny to businesses, and the tiny fund they say will be up and running sometime soon is a drop in the ocean of what companies need to survive.
“The Scottish Conservatives have outlined how we would back business with automatic grants and a Hardship Fund. Now the SNP need to show businesses the money before it’s too late.”