‘Immediate robust support’ crucial as Boxing Day lockdown looms

Trade groups call for ‘extraordinary package of funding’ to support hospitality businesses and those which supply them

Empty pub pic interior

AN “additional upweighted ‘extraordinary’ package of funding” must be urgently identified from Scottish and UK government budgets to support hospitality businesses and the supply chain when further coronavirus lockdown measures kick in on Boxing Day, business trade groups have said.

In a letter to first minister Nicola Sturgeon following Saturday’s announcement that mainland Scotland will go into level four restrictions and the islands into level three from 26th December (Trade facing further lockdown from Boxing Day | Scottish Licensed Trade News ), the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), UK Hospitality Scotland, Scotland Food & Drink and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce say “immediate, more meaningful, targeted and robust support” is urgently required from both governments to help businesses through “what will now be a significantly more challenging period than any of us had previously understood or anticipated”.

“Your subsequent announcement that restrictions will be tightened for the foreseeable future is clear and understood and is a decisive response to the health risk,” states the letter to the first minister.

“The ask of the industry is that the Scottish Government now delivers a similarly swift and committed response to the economic consequences of this action.

“Without a more equitable and upweighted level of support being made available quickly, it is likely that many more businesses will be forced into temporary or permanent closure; operators are now dealing with a flood of cancellations and have lost much needed revenue as a result of [Saturday’s] announcement.

“With no opportunity to trade viably over the coming weeks and potentially months, there is a need for an even greater level of financial support to save businesses and jobs including those in the supply chain and the livelihoods of many in the local communities that the industry supports.

“The tourism and hospitality sector is a major economic driver and offers Scotland a strong route to recovery. It is therefore absolutely vital that both governments protect businesses at the front line of our sector and the supply chains that support them. Capacity must be sustained to ensure the sector can contribute positively to Scotland’s economy through recovery and maintain the nation’s position on the global stage.

“The scale of damage and devastation to businesses, local economies, communities and livelihoods will be unprecedented without immediate, more meaningful, targeted and robust support from both governments.”