The ASSC conducted a Scotland-wide sectoral survey relating to issues concerning eligibility and access to the various packages of economic support from the Scottish and UK Governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The online survey elicited 629 responses from self-caterers in Scotland, from both ASSC members and non-ASSC members alike, in 31/32 of Scotland’s local authorities.
The results offer valuable insights into the experiences and problems faced by Scottish self-catering operators in accessing the support required to safeguard their business in a sector that has been estimated to contribute over £723m each year to the Scottish economy.
The ASSC ran a third round of their online survey consisting of 18 questions. This was publicised via ASSC newsletters, as well as on the ASSC’s social media pages on Twitter and Facebook.
In 24 hours, the survey generated 629 responses. 260 were from members of the ASSC and 369 responses were from non-members.
Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:
“The results of this survey are deeply concerning and demonstrate that the short-term rental sector is in dire need of support and decisive action from government.
“That 63 per cent of operators in our sector still have not received the support that they are entitled to is indicative of just how many livelihoods are being jeopardised by government dithering and inaction – this simply cannot go on.
“Given that the traditional self-catering sector is worth £723million per year to the Scottish economy, failing to support it will have serious implications for economic recovery, our vital tourism industry, and the mental health of our operators and their families.
“Self-catering in Scotland needs government to step up now, if there is much more delay the consequences may be irreversible.”
Some of the key findings include:
- Although there is some movement in terms of grant applications being approved, self-caterers from across Scotland are still experiencing difficulties in accessing business support grants from the Scottish Government that are being administered by local authorities.
- 80% of self-caterers are rural or semi-rural.
- 61% of respondents have operated for over 6 years.
- 67% are pessimistic or very pessimistic about their businesses in light of Covid-19.
- When asked about their mental health, 5% of respondents are experiencing new symptoms, 28% are experiencing mild anxiety / depression symptoms and 10% are ‘not sure what their emotional state is’.
- 187 respondents (or approximately 37% of the total) have had their application for a business support approved by a local authority.
- 248 (49%) have still got applications outstanding.
- 22 respondents (4%) have had their applications rejected: Dumfries & Galloway, Argyll & Bute, Eilean Siar and Perth.
- It is still not clear on what evidence will be accepted and what will not be. The guidance is being interpreted differently by respondents, local authorities and also accountants. Many do not feel that they will be eligible as they cannot evidence one third or more of earnings or 140 nights occupancy, but nonetheless it represents a significant part of overall income.
- Concerns remain that some local authorities are not processing applications from self-catering accommodation until further guidance has been provided from the Scottish Government.
- ASSC Sectoral Survey into Self-Caterer Access to Covid-19 Business Support Week 3