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Call to end squabbling

Hotelier urges ministers to ‘grow up’ and get cash paid

Stephen Montgomery: ‘stop squabbling’

A hotelier has called for the Holyrood and Westminster governments to “grow up” and stop squabbling over supporting the sector.

Stephen Montgomery, who represents the Scottish Hospitality Group, said the sector had suffered its worst December trading in living memory is facing the worst start to a year ever. 

But he said much of the promised support has yet to come through and it is unclear even what businesses are entitled to due to conflicts between the Holyrood and Westminster governments. 

“Instead of helping, our political leaders are squabbling with each other. It’s like arguing about who throws the lifebelt when someone’s already under water,” he said.

“As well as confusion about the support available to businesses, there are major delays between funding being announced and it being paid out.”

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Mr Montgomery added: “The continued furlough scheme is welcome but it’s there to protect jobs rather than businesses, and we still have to pay all sorts of fixed costs

“Even those businesses that survive will seriously struggle to recover this year. Not only is the support completely inadequate, in many cases what little is available hasn’t appeared months after it was promised. 

“We will soon be proposing specific, realistic measures that both governments can introduce so we’ve got a fighting chance of getting back on our feet by next year. 

“First of all though, we need them to grow up and start working together so that the hospitality sector still exists to drive our economic recovery once the virus is under better control.”

Members of the SHG took only 20% of last year’s earnings during the vital Christmas trading period. The figures mean that on average SHG members lost £12,000 of revenue per week, per premises – money that would normally keep businesses alive until the spring. 

The cut in revenue will also throw into doubt existing plans for £30m of investment in 27 premises which would create hundreds of new jobs as well as protecting existing ones. 

During the lockdown, businesses continue to spend on average nearly £6,000 per week per premises on fixed costs and contributions to the furlough scheme.



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