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New £104m Scotland tourism and hospitality package welcomed but outlook remains ‘very bleak'

22 December 2020 by
New £104m Scotland tourism and hospitality package welcomed but outlook remains ‘very bleak'

An additional £104m funding package for Scotland's tourism and hospitality industries has been welcomed, but trade bodies say the outlook remains "very bleak" with the mainland set to enter another lockdown this weekend.

Businesses required to close by law are able to claim up to £3,000 every four weeks through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

Of the new funding, £19.2m is set to become available to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses and £50.8m for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 that have not received support from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Hotel Support Programme.

Tourism secretary Fergus Ewing said the funding was for sectors that are "particularly vulnerable and may not have access to help from other sources".

He said: "We've already invested well over £2.3b to support businesses across Scotland, including 100% rates relief for pubs and restaurants, but we know this is not enough. The restrictions, as necessary as they are, continue to have a profound effect and it is fair to say that tourism and hospitality businesses are feeling it more than most. This funding will provide a vital lifeline in the build up to what should be much of the industry's busiest time of the year."

He also said that, in light of the oncoming lockdown, further work will be undertaken to examine what additional support is needed by businesses, including for the longer term.

Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) managing director Colin Wilkinson welcomed the support but added: "These additional financial support measures have been marred by the earlier-than-expected lockdown payback measures that the industry had been anticipating.

"These new constraints will have an even greater negative impact on the sector and those in the supply chain at this time as we are losing any resemblance of the vitally important Christmas and New Year trade.

"In light of this development the Scottish government will need to urgently review the provision of ongoing, realistic financial compensation if the sector and the staff that it employs are to be here after spring 2021 and part of Scotland's economic recovery."

UKHospitality Scotland executive director Willie Macleod said: "We are glad that ministers have worked closely with us and acted on our concerns and come forward with this package of targeted financial support, which will be a lifeline for those businesses excluded from previous support, such as hotels, wedding venues, nightclubs and tour operators.

"However, the outlook for the coming months remains very bleak, with businesses set to remain closed or severely hampered by restrictions. We will continue to work closely with government to ensure they are fully aware of the support required by all hospitality businesses to get through this and so they are able to play their part in the economic recovery."

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