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Scottish licensed trade slams new financial support package as an ‘insult'

10 December 2020 by
Scottish licensed trade slams new financial support package as an ‘insult'

The latest financial support package for Scottish businesses has been branded an "insult" by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA).

Finance secretary Kate Forbes (pictured) confirmed yesterday that businesses across Scotland would receive a £185m package of targeted support, with grant schemes being developed for hard-hit sectors.

This included £60m to the tourism sector, £1.8m for brewers and £15m for the wedding sector and its supply chain. There will also be one-off payments to hospitality businesses in January of £2,000 or £3,000, depending on rateable value.

SLTA managing director, Colin Wilkinson, said that although the one-off payments would help pay some of the recent extra lockdown costs incurred by businesses, this meant the grant was gone "even before we get it".

He said: "The industry keeps being told by government that our concerns are being listened to but this announcement confirms the government needs to get a serious grip on the reality of the cataclysmic devastation facing the licensed hospitality sector and those that it employs."

He added that the government must provide "realistic financial compensation if the sector and the staff that it employs are to be here after spring 2021 and be part of Scotland's economic recovery".

UKHospitality Scotland acknowledged the new package of support but reiterated that longer-term action will be needed to ensure the survival of the hospitality sector.

Executive director Willie Macleod said: "The additional support from the Scottish government will provide much-needed support for businesses that are being seriously hard-pressed at the minute. We appreciate that resources are finite and that the Scottish government has acknowledged the fact that we are being hit harder than any other sector.

"We look forward to working with them to quickly reach an agreement as to how these funds can be best used to support our industry. These are businesses that are, in many cases, barely clinging on, piling up huge debts and struggling to meet operating costs. Restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for businesses to trade at what should be the busiest time of the year. In a few short weeks' time we will be into the New Year and a traditionally quiet period for our businesses. We will need to ensure that support is delivered where it is needed most.

"Beyond that, if we expect to see hospitality businesses trade themselves out of trouble and back into a position to begin rebuilding the economy, we will need longer term action. The business rates holiday for the sector must be extended along with the VAT cut. The Scottish government must also make sure that it provides the resources to enable the recommendations of the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce to be implemented in full."

Photo: Flickr - Scottish Government

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