Scottish Government outlines £104 million hospitality support package

Over £50m earmarked for businesses with rateable values over £51,000 which were excluded from earlier grants

Ministers pledge to urgently establish what additional support is needed in light of Boxing Day lockdown


THE Scottish Government has outlined details of a £104 million new year hospitality and tourism support package – including over £50 million earmarked for businesses with rateable values over £51,000 which were left out of its earlier grants schemes.

Ministers have also pledged to undertake further work “urgently” to establish what additional support is needed in light of the Boxing Day lockdown, which will see all of mainland Scotland move into level four restrictions and the islands into level three from 26th December.

Further details and opening dates for the £104m fund, which is part of a £185m package previously announced by finance secretary Kate Forbes, will be announced “in due course”, the Scottish Government said.

The support package will include £19.2m to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses; £50.8m for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 that have not received support from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Hotel Support Programme and “some additional support to smaller businesses impacted by restrictions”; £7m for self-catering; £5m for visitor attractions; £2.5m for outdoor tourism; and £1m for B&Bs and guest houses.

Tourism secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The COVID-19 crisis has shattered previously successful businesses and we are committed to doing everything possible to get them back on their feet. These funding streams seek to throw a lifeline to some sectors that we know are particularly vulnerable and may not have access to help from other sources.

“We’ve already invested well over £2.3 billion to support businesses across Scotland, including 100% rates relief for pubs and restaurants but we know this is not enough. The restrictions, as necessary as they are, continue to have a profound effect and it is fair to say that tourism and hospitality businesses are feeling it more than most.

“Clearly, in light of the enhanced restrictions announced at the weekend to control the spread of the virus, we will be undertaking further work on what additional support is needed by businesses, including for the longer term.

“There is a need to move quickly to ensure the sector is adequately supported and ready to go again, when the time is right.”

Willie Macleod, executive director of UK Hospitality Scotland, welcomed the announcement, saying the funding will provide a “lifeline” for businesses excluded from previous support.

“However, the outlook for the coming months remains very bleak with businesses set to remain closed or severely hampered by restrictions,” he said.

“We will continue to work closely with government to ensure they are fully aware of the support required by all hospitality businesses to get through this and so they are able to play their part in the economic recovery.”

Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), welcomed the funding announcement but said it has been “marred by the earlier-than-expected lockdown payback measures that the industry had been anticipating”.

“These new constraints will have an even greater negative impact on the sector and those in the supply chain at this time as we are losing any resemblance of the vitally important Christmas and New Year trade,” he said.

“In light of this development the Scottish Government will need to urgently review the provision of ongoing, realistic financial compensation if the sector and the staff that it employs are to be here after spring 2021 and part Scotland’s economic recovery.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA), said the announcement of funding for the sector is “hugely welcome”.

“This news, of course, comes against the backdrop of further restrictions which will impact the trade for a long time,” she said.

“The UK and Scottish Governments must now look at an additional support package for hospitality to cover these further restrictions, as it’s a long way back to profitability for our members. The levels must also be amended to extend operating hours and loosen restrictions on alcohol sales to allow pubs and bars a chance of viability in the new year.”