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Talks held

Ministers ‘considering’ more lockdown help

Marc Crothall

Marc Crothall: ‘heartened’

Tourism and hospitality leaders were given assurances by the First Minister and newly-reappointed trade minister today that more financial support could be offered to businesses impacted by continuing lockdowns.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said the talks with Nicola Sturgeon and Ivan McKee were “constructive” and more discussions will take place next week.

Mr Crothall, who was joined by Leon Thompson, executive director Scotland UKHospitality, said it was clear that Ms Sturgeon and Mr McKee “have a deep understanding of all of the challenges facing the sector.”

He added: “We are heartened by her indication that the Scottish Government will listen and offer as much support as possible to businesses affected both within and outside of the area.

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“We talked at length about the financial support required for the sector and were pleased that there was the acknowledgement that more support beyond the restart loans, the value of which has been lost due to the current circumstances, is being considered.”

He said the ministers were reminded of the impact on businesses of decisions being taken so late last week that led to Glasgow being forced at short notice to remain under level three restrictions.

Mr McKee has confirmed a meeting with the STA next Wednesday.

Mr Thompson said: “Today’s constructive meeting with the First Minister and Mr McKee allowed for a complete picture of the challenges faced by the hospitality sector to be presented. 

“A clear and early demonstration of the Scottish Government’s commitment to hospitality is vital.”

Glasgow stays in level 3

The meeting followed confirmation that Glasgow will remain in level three for at least another week while Moray moves to level two, allowing for alcohol to be served indoors. East Renfrewshire will remain in level two.

Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland policy chairman, said: “The situation in Glasgow is excruciating for the city’s hospitality and tourism industry. From next week, Scotland’s largest city will be the only place in the UK where pubs and restaurants won’t be able to serve alcohol indoors. Understandably, business owners and their customers are intensely frustrated. 

Andrew McRae

Andrew McRae: ‘a new approach may be needed’

“While we want to see new financial support for Glaswegian operators, especially those that took on new staff for re-opening, we must also see the Scottish Government investigate whether a new approach is required for the city.

“If the virus has not been brought under control while Glasgow businesses have faced almost nine months of restrictions, then surely the problem lies elsewhere.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Scottish Government must ensure that adequate and targeted financial compensation is provided quickly. 

“We also urge the UK Government to accept these outbreaks as special cases and be flexible with furlough criteria for businesses who have recruited new staff or have brought back their employees, they should be able to use the furlough scheme to protect jobs.”



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