£40 million grant scheme is ‘totally derisory’

Group calls for further support and greater collaboration from government

pint pouring

TRADE organisation the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has blasted the Scottish Government’s most recent grant scheme, which opened for applications today (October 20), saying the scheme is “totally derisory for our sector”.

The group has said that the £40 million support package announced by the Scottish Government and administered by local authorities is “nowhere near enough” and called for further support if first minister Nicola Sturgeon extends the current restrictions.

The first minister is due to give an update on the current restrictions tomorrow (October 21).

Spokesman Stephen Montgomery said: “Any financial support is welcome but what’s on the table is totally derisory for our sector.

“Currently we are being asked to stretch £40m across 16,700 Scottish licensed businesses whereas (Manchester mayor) Andy Burnham is pushing for £75m for Greater Manchester, which has just 1912 premises.

“If the Scottish Government announces extended restrictions tomorrow, then the sector must be given adequate financial support.”

SHG member Nic Wood, owner of Signature Pub Group, called on the Scottish and UK governments to work with the industry.

“It is not unreasonable to ask government to work with us on finding a solution to safeguard an industry that is the backbone of Scotland’s economic prosperity,” said Wood.

“Currently we do not feel they are listening to businesses and as a result have a lot to learn as to how our sector works. Our business alone has been forced to reduce headcount by 30 percent, and until they start to engage with us, thousands of Scottish jobs hang in the balance.

“Scotland’s bars and restaurants have demonstrated again and again that they are willing to work with government and are doing absolutely everything asked of them to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

“Responsibly run bars and restaurants should be regarded as a vital part of the solution, as recent evidence shows that people will socialise at home or other venues that have no social distancing.”