Call for further Scottish Government support to keep hospitality sector alive

£40 million fund “nowhere near enough” to offset massive hit businesses are taking, says UK Hospitality


THE Scottish Government must go further to support the country’s hospitality businesses if it is to have “any hope of keeping businesses alive and jobs safe”, according to UK Hospitality.

The trade group said the £40 million fund announced by first minister Nicola Sturgeon –which will open for applications via local authority websites from Tuesday (October 20) and which will include grants of up to £3000 for businesses forced to close and hardship grants of up to £1500 for businesses impacted by COVID restrictions – will not be enough to offset the “massive hit” hospitality businesses are taking.

Willie Macleod, executive director for Scotland at UK Hospitality, called on the Scottish Government to outline how it will provide further financial support for the sector, including details of how it intends to allocate additional funding for devolved governments announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak last Friday.

“Financial support for hospitality businesses, which are either closed or operating under severe restrictions, and supply chain businesses is welcome,” said Macleod.

“The reality is, however, that the £40 million pot made available by the Scottish Government is not going to be nearly enough. It will be nowhere near enough to offset the massive hit businesses have taken. It will not keep businesses afloat and it will not keep enough jobs safe.

“Compulsory closures in the central belt and the trading restrictions elsewhere are biting hard. Consumer confidence is also low which means revenue is down and cash flow reduced. Businesses need cash in order to survive and keep as many of their employees as possible in jobs.

“The Scottish Government must go further. It needs to announce as soon as possible how it will use its share, understood to be £700m, of the £1.3 billion allocated last Friday by the chancellor to the devolved governments. It must use a significant chunk of this to help the beleaguered hospitality sector and its employees. Many hospitality businesses, including nightclubs, meeting spaces and conference venues, are, as yet, unable to reopen and they need the support that has hitherto been denied them.

“There must also be a change in the way these restrictions are being rolled-out. It is increasingly incumbent on government to provide adequate notice of restrictions being placed on businesses and, at the same time, provide full details of how these businesses will be supported.”