Forbes pledges £60m in tourism support

Tourism Alliance calls for clarity on details


THE Scottish Government has pledged an additional £60 million to support Scotland’s tourism industry in the New Year, with additional one-off grants for hospitality businesses valued at a further £30m.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today (9th December) finance secretary Kate Forbes announced £570m in funding for business support in the coming months, which will include funding for businesses on a “sector-by-sector basis”.

While exact details are still to be announced, packages will include £60m in support for tourism businesses, as well as one-off grants in January of either £2000 or £3000 (depending on rateable value) for hospitality businesses.

There will also be £1.8m in support for brewers, £1.5m for visitor attractions and a £30m discretionary fund for local authorities to administer in their areas.

Announcing the tourism fund Forbes said: “Tourism is one of the hardest hit sectors and I can announce that further support of over £60m will be provided. The details of that package of support is being developed in consultation with the industry and the full details will be announced by Fergus Ewing.”

And on the one-off grants for hospitality businesses the finance secretary said: “The first month of any new year is always challenging for the hospitality sector. Demand tends to be low following the festive season. And recognising that, additional one-off payments will be available to the hospitality businesses that have played such a significant role in the fight against the virus and that have been impacted so severely.

“These will be £2000 grants or £3000 grants based on rateable values. And that support – valued at £30m – will also extend to our hotels and will be on top of any payment due in January as part of the strategic framework business fund, recognising the challenges that many are facing at this time.”

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, welcomed the announcement of the funding but called on the Scottish Government to provide “further clarity around the allocation of funds”.

“Our industry has been left in limbo for an unacceptable period of time with no clear or helpful indication of when support will land, forcing many business owners into temporary and permanent closure to stem the daily haemorrhage of outgoings which are required to remain even partially operational during this period of restrictions,” said Crothall.

“Despite the announcement of a total package of support, I know there will be widespread disappointment and frustration from many across the industry that the detail on what level of funding businesses can expect to receive, how these funds will be distributed and when, was not made clear in today’s statement.

“This is what businesses had hoped for and expected from the finance secretary; they have been left to make hugely difficult decisions within a continued context of unknowns.”