The Scottish Government’s COVID-19 household restrictions are devastating Scotland’s self-catering sector, a new report has revealed.
According to a survey of operators, conducted by the industry’s trade body, the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, 71 percent of self-caterers have reported a negative financial impact on their businesses with over half expecting further cancellations and 15 percent believing their businesses to be no longer viable.
Worse still, nearly one-in-ten operators have already had to let staff go and over half have reported suffering mental health effects as a direct result of the brutal SNP policy.
In revenue terms, 73 percent of self-catering businesses now expect to suffer losses of up to £20,000 with 5 percent bracing themselves for losses of more than that.
There have also been reports of guests cancelling and rebooking with larger hotels, as a result of the new measure.
The Scottish Government’s policy, spearheaded by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, has been the subject of harsh and extensive criticism following a series of embarrassing U-turns on whether self-catering units were to be included or not.
This damaging confusion was compounded by Scotland’s Clinical Director, Jason Leitch, who appeared on a BBC interview to contradict Mr Ewing’s position at the time, resulting in an outcry from the industry and the handling of the matter to be described as “embarrassing” and “undignified” by the ASSC.
As if to further condemn the Scottish Government’s policy, which has already sent a chill through the £723million sector, it was found that most respondents to the survey were from areas with little to no cases of COVID-19, suggesting that the ruinous effects on the Scottish Government from the policy will be felt across the country.
The rule is considered by many to be a betrayal of the sector which has worked closely with the Scottish Government through the pandemic, including locking down early and introducing strict cleaning measures, and had always approached working with the Scottish Government in a positive and constructive way.
As the trade body for the sector, the ASSC will continue to support its members and champion the industry, especially through these difficult times.
ASSC Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:
“By including self-catering in this harsh rule, the Scottish Government has effectively placed a noose around the neck of a huge part of Scotland’s tourism offering, as our members have found.
“It is difficult to articulate just how angry, upset, scared, and apprehensive the Scottish Government’s disastrous dithering, poor planning, and dreadful decision-making has been, and will continue to be, for our sector but these figures give a pretty decent indication.
“Going forward, we will continue to fight for our sector and we can only hope that, sometimes soon, a lightbulb comes on in the Scottish Government’s offices before we’re forced to turn off our lights for good.”