£104m hospitality aid ‘won’t make up for lost trade’
Fergus Ewing: ‘throwing a lifeline’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Tourism and hospitality businesses across Scotland are to benefit from a £104.3 million package of support in the New Year, although businesses said it barely compensated for the loss of festive trade.
The funding is part of the short term response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations and follows lengthy discussions with industry to target support specifically where it is needed the most.
It is part of the £185 million package previously announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes. Further work will be undertaken to establish what additional support is needed in light of the announcement to move mainland Scotland to level 4 and the Scottish islands to level 3 from Boxing Day.
Businesses required to close by law are currently able to claim up to £3,000 every four weeks through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.
The package comprises:
- £19.2 million to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses
- £50.8 million 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 and some additional support to smaller businesses impacted by restrictions
- £11.8 million for international inbound, coach tourism and domestic tour operators
- £7 million for self-catering
- £5 million for visitor attractions
- £2.5 million for outdoor tourism
- £2.3 million for hostels
- £2 million for ski centres
- £1.5 million for travelling show people ineligible for other support
- £1.2 million for Destination Management Organisations
- £1 million for B&Bs and guest houses excluded from the latest Non Domestic Rates scheme
Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “These funding streams seek to throw a lifeline to some sectors that we know are particularly vulnerable and may not have access to help from other sources.
“Clearly, in light of the enhanced restrictions announced at the weekend to control the spread of the virus, we will be undertaking further work on what additional support is needed by businesses, including for the longer term.
“There is a need to move quickly to ensure the sector is adequately supported and ready to go again, when the time is right.”
Scottish Licensed Trade Association managing director Colin Wilkinson, who earlier this month compared the government’s support to a “Christmas cracker joke”, said the package was welcome.
“However, these additional financial support measures have been marred by the earlier-than-expected lockdown payback measures that the industry had been anticipating,” he said.
“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.”
Details and opening dates for all funding pots will be announced in due course.
Further information about eligibility requirements for the Strategic Framework Business Fund.
Having considered the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce report and recommendations, the Scottish Government has:
- agreed to continue working with the industry to develop plans and pilot programmes to enable the full re-opening of the sector, in accordance with clinical and scientific advice
- agreed that the Enterprise Agencies and VisitScotland should be commissioned to undertake work to develop a fully detailed and costed five year recovery plan, as well as an investor plan for the sector, to clearly set out the benefits of such investment
- agreed to publish the Scottish Government’s response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Task Force recommendations
- noted the ongoing financial support that would be critical to sector survival and recovery over the coming months and years and that a further update on the recovery plan and the financial position would be agreed by the Scottish Government in early 2021