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27/03/2020

Eligibility Criteria for Access to the Grant Funding Scheme for Self-Caterers

Over the past few days, the ASSC has engaged in discussions with the Scottish Government over the eligibility criteria for access to the Grant Funding Scheme for self-caterers.

The ASSC received a letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes MSP this afternoon.

In it, Ms Forbes outlined that “the ratepayers for self-catering accommodation and caravans will be eligible for both the one-off £10,000 grant for small businesses and the one-off £25,000 grant for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors announced on 18 March by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture. The grants will be available on the condition that this property is each ratepayer’s primary source of earnings and that the property is let for 140 days or more in the financial year 2019-20. Applicants will be required to provide evidence of this and grants will be restricted to one per ratepayer.”

We have already responded setting out our topline concerns with what has been proposed. We will continue to press the Scottish Government to ensure that there is parity of support for Scottish self-caterers compared to others in the UK and that our industry is not treated any differently from others in the small business community.

These are extremely challenging times for our industry and we understand that you will be anxious for a swift resolution on the issue. We hope to reach an amicable solution with the Scottish Government in due course but rest assured that we are fighting your corner to try and safeguard your business and livelihood.

Here are our two principal concerns at what the Scottish Government have proposed:

  • The lack of parity of support with other self-caterers in the rest of the UK. This penalises a key component part of Scotland’s tourism offering compared to others in the UK and is something our membership could never support.
  • Self-catering has been designated as requiring additional eligibility compared to other small businesses in Scotland. Many other small businesses in Scotland are increasingly reliant on multiple sources of income.

With that in mind, we would like to understand the policy rationale for: (a) the differentiation applied in Scotland in terms of the grant support for self-caterers compared to the rest of the UK; and (b) why self-catering units are treated differently in respect of this grant compared to other small businesses with similar financial models.

We firmly believe that as this is a scheme that the UK Government is financing it should, therefore, be applied in a consistent manner throughout the UK, ensuring that Scottish self-caterers are not disadvantaged compared to others in the UK, or indeed other important sections of the small business community who need help in these challenging times.

If you have not already done so, we would strongly encourage you to contact your local MSP to highlight your concerns on this matter.

Fiona Campbell

Chief Executive, ASSC

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