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Further Funding Announced for the Self-Catering Sector

Kate Forbes’ has delivered a ministerial statement to the Scottish Parliament today.

Main Points

  • The Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes highlighted that the Scottish Government will provide a new £185m business support fund. This will be broken down sector by sector to ensure “tailored support” which will be as “effective as possible”.
  • The Scottish Government support “recovery plans”, developed in partnership with the tourism sector, including self-catering.
  • £60m has been set aside for the tourism industry and the details were currently being developed in consultation with industry – full details will be announced later by the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Fergus Ewing.
  • The Scottish Government will also provide one-off payments to hospitality businesses in the new year. £2,000 and £3,000 grants will be made available, depending on rateable value, and this support will extend to hotels.
  • In response, the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance Murdo Fraser sought clarity on whether self-catering would be eligible for the tourism funding. Kate Forbes replied that the Scottish Government had tailored their previous packages of support in cooperation with industry, name checking the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, and said it was “the intention” of the Scottish Government to provide funding to self-catering.

Read the Scottish Government’s press release.

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said:

“This afternoon’s announcement that a significant proportion of the latest consequentials will be allocated to support business and the wider economy is very much welcomed by the tourism industry, especially by those who have had little or no support to date, as we enter what are perhaps the bleakest conditions our sector will ever experience.

With the majority of our industry either closed or partially open, operating mostly in an unviable, unsustainable manner with the continued restrictions, I know that all business owners will be eager to learn more of the detail of today’s announcement; further clarity around the allocation of funds for each of our sectors, how the packages of support will be distributed, criteria for application and dates when funds will become available is of critical importance and I very much hope a subsequent announcement will be made within the next few days.

Our industry has been left in limbo for an unacceptable period of time with no clear or helpful indication of when support will land, forcing many business owners into temporary and permanent closure to stem the daily haemorrhage of outgoings which are required to remain even partially operational during this period of restrictions.

Despite the announcement of a total package of support, I know there will be widespread disappointment and frustration from many across the industry that the detail on what level of funding businesses can expect to receive, how these funds will be distributed and when, was not made clear in today’s statement.  This is what businesses had hoped for and expected from the Finance Secretary; they have been left to make hugely difficult decisions within a continued context of unknowns.

Substantial, immediate and targeted support can make the difference between businesses being able to survive through the coming weeks and winter months until we hopefully experience a degree of market stimulation in the Spring, or having to close their doors for good.  The strength of Scotland’s tourism product is being eroded every passing week so my overarching message to the Scottish Government is to provide the clarity awaited on the support package this week and the assurance that the delivery mechanisms of the support are robust enough to allow the monies needed so desperately to be distributed without further delay.”

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