Coronavirus: STA calls for further government assistance


THE Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has spoken with representatives from the Scottish Government to request a number of added measures to support tourism and hospitality businesses as the coronavirus epidemic continues to worsen.

The calls came after the Scottish Government announced a number of measures including a £320 million relief package for businesses.

However, as infection rates continue to rise in Scotland the STA has said “the rule book needs to be thrown out of the window”.

A statement from the group said it had spoken to the Covid19 Business update group and also with Fergus Ewing, cabinet secretary for rural economy and tourism to discuss “the urgent asks for industry”. It will now have a call with the cabinet secretary three times a week moving forward.

Measures the STA has requested include the scrapping of all business rates and local taxes; the deferring of all corporation tax, VAT, PAYE and other payments; and “significant emergency loan funding for all affected businesses”.

“There is now much greater acknowledgement and recognition by the cabinet secretary and members of Scottish Government of the severity and pace of the impacts that are currently being and soon to be even greater felt by all across the industry,” said the statement from the group.

The STA’s requests include:

  • Scrapping of all business rates/local taxes for all travel and tourism businesses for 2020.
  • Deferring all corporation tax, VAT, PAYE and other tax payments for 12 months.
  • Significant emergency loan funding for all affected businesses (as Germany is already doing).
  • Paying % of the lost wages of employees on reduced time or temporary layoffs (as Germany and Denmark are doing)
  • Providing full benefits and support to all staff who are temporarily made redundant immediately.
  • Requiring the banks and landlords to offer all affected employees and businesses repayment holidays of up to 12 months on mortgages, loans, rent etc. – maybe to ease with Scot Govt guarantees
  • Scottish Government to abandon introduction of TVL (tourist tax) once and for all
  • Delay introduction of any and all new business regulations until impact of CV19 fully understood and dealt with
  • Encouraging suppliers, such as utilities providers, to offer deferred payments terms to hospitality businesses
  • Push the banks hard to be supportive of hospitality businesses experiencing unexpected trading difficulties and provide Scottish Government guarantee
  • Commercial landlords must be encouraged to defer rent payments with government guarantees as necessary
  • Establish a SG underwritten business support fund to provide emergency cash flow via zero-interest loans and non-repayable grants
  • Commit to review business rates on similar terms to proposed UKG review
  • Significant additional resources to VisitScotland to promote Scotland as a destination (careful timing of campaigns)
  • Although a reserved matter, Scottish Government to press UKG for reduction in tourism and hospitality VAT to (5%) to stimulate demand and support recovery