Plea to ministers

Tourism bosses call for halt to ‘policy pain’

Marc Crothall: survival at risk

Most tourism businesses have called for a pause in government policies amid a growing cash crisis that threatens their survival.

Two thirds (60%) quizzed by the Scottish Tourism Alliance say they have less than three months cash reserves and a quarter have none.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said it was “entirely the wrong time for the Scottish Government to be piloting policies” that may do limited good and risk maximum harm.

Businesses called for governments north and south of the border to hold back on new legislation such as short term lets and the deposit return scheme which are weighing on their cash flow.

Respondents call for improvements on immigration, lower VAT, corporation taxes and business rates, as well as better distribution of levelling-up funding.

Nearly all (96%) are ‘not confident’, ‘pessimistic’ or ‘extremely pessimistic’ that the UK Government’s new Energy Bills Discount Scheme will protect the tourism and hospitality industry from energy prices over the next 12 months.

Mr Crothall said: “The intensity of feeling across the industry is tangible. This is a resilient sector that continues to strive for success.

“The stark reality facing our industry is that the survival of many businesses will be entirely dependent on an immediate change in the direction of government policy.

“Everyone across the country is facing intense pressures from inflation and energy costs and business is no different.

“Our industry is experiencing the double whammy from inflation and the policy pain that is adding costs which could put many out of business altogether.

“This is entirely the wrong time for the Scottish Government to be piloting policies that will do limited good and risk maximum harm.

“At the same time, the withdrawal of financial support measures and a return to heavy taxation burdens will be a heavy burden to bear for too many.”

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