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Press Release: Large Self-Catering Businesses Facing “Catastrophic Cliff Edge”

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers is calling for more support, clarity, and certainty from the Scottish Government to save the industry from a “catastrophic cliff edge”, with larger properties in a perilous situation caused by on-going restrictions.

The sector is urging ministers to better understand the pressures facing businesses under COVID-19 indoor socialising restrictions and to provide ongoing, timely, and adequate financial support in a clear, certain, fair, and consistent way.

Following a survey of its members which found that over half felt that the Scottish Government’s financial support for larger properties, those that can accommodate more than seven guests, had been “poor” or “dreadful”, the association which represents the sector stepped-up its calls for more decisive and clear action from ministers.

The survey also found that operators of larger self-catering properties lost £73,000 in turnover due to the pandemic and that 85 percent of operators were deeply concerned about the viability of their businesses in the future.

While the ASSC welcomed last month’s re-opening, concerns continue to be raised for larger properties which are currently unable to return to any semblance of normal business owing to restrictions on numbers of households.

According to the findings, 53 percent of those larger businesses are operating at a reduced capacity, and having to reduce rates, with a fifth remaining completely closed.

The restrictions on households also mean that those larger properties that do open will continue to face significant restrictions, even when Scotland finally enters level zero.

Currently, larger self-catering businesses have only had 10 weeks of viable trading in Summer and Autumn of 2020 and many are struggling to cope.

Scotland’s self-caterers are a valuable part of the Scottish tourist economy, especially in supporting outdoor activities and country sports on which the sector relies heavily.

Without real and decisive action from policymakers, the sector, which consistently helps Scots and visitors from overseas enjoy memory-making holidays, will continue to face serious challenges which many within it may well find insurmountable.

Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:

“The situation for our hardworking self-caterers, especially those with larger businesses, has gone from deeply concerning to drastic and perilous.

“Without better understanding on the part of the Scottish Government, combined with more freedom to operate, better funding, and consistency, clarity, and fairness, many of our members will no longer be able to operate and could see their doors close permanently.

“There is still time for the Scottish Government to be there for us, but we are fast approaching a catastrophic cliff edge from which it will be nearly impossible to recover.”

Read the survey in full: ASSC Sectoral Survey on Impact of Single Household Restrictions May 2021

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