Coronavirus: STA says businesses are “falling between the gaps”

THE Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has written to members of the Scottish Government to highlight the concerns of businesses which “fall between the gaps” of government’s support measures and to address issues with the Employment Retention Scheme.

The association said several types of business – including limited companies, private partnerships and distilleries with visitor centres – are at risk due to not currently being eligible for the Scottish Government’s grants or business rates relief. The grant scheme is currently available for businesses with a rateable value of up to £50,999.

A statement from the group said: “In the case of the smaller business, we believe that it might have been assumed by the chancellor and officials that these businesses would be picked up via the self-employed sole trader support scheme, however, this is not the case.”

It has also outlined issues with the Employee Retention Scheme and called for the introduction of a ‘part-time furlough’ which would allow companies to employ staff part-time to allow them to maintain a basic resource and plan for recovery.

The seasonal nature of many hospitality and tourism businesses is also a concern, said the STA. Currently only workers employed since February 28 are eligible for the Employee Retention Scheme, but the STA has asked for this to be changed to March 21 – the day after the scheme was first announced – in order to cover seasonal workers.  

The letter was sent to Fergus Ewing, cabinet secretary for rural economy and touris; Kate Forbes, cabinet secretary for finance; and Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for economy, fair work and culture.