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Lifeline Support Package Announced Today

Lifeline support package announced today

£104.3m lifeline support package targeted for key sectors within the tourism and hospitality industry across Scotland announced today.

The funding is part of the short-term response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations and follows lengthy discussions with industry to target support specifically where it is needed the most. 

It is part of the £185 million package previously announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes. Further work will be urgently undertaken to establish what additional support is needed in light of the announcement to move mainland Scotland to level 4 and the Scottish islands to level 3 from Boxing Day.

Businesses required to close by law are currently able to claim up to £3,000 every four weeks through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

Areas set to benefit include:

  • £19.2 million to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses
  • £50.8 million 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
  • £11.8 million for international inbound, coach tourism and domestic tour operators
  • £7 million for self-catering
  • £5 million for visitor attractions
  • £2.5 million for outdoor tourism
  • £2.3 million for hostels
  • £2 million for ski centres
  • £1.5 million for travelling show people ineligible for other support
  • £1.2 million for Destination Management Organisations
  • £1 million for B&Bs and guest houses excluded from the latest Non Domestic Rates scheme

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

It’s been a particularly bruising year for our tourism and hospitality sectors. 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. This funding will provide a vital lifeline in the build up to what should be much of the industry’s busiest time of the year.

The funding aligns in the short term with many of the tourism taskforce’s recommendations and I am grateful to it for its work on this.

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.” 

Details and opening dates for all funding pots will be announced in due course.

Commenting on the announcement, SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said:

The SLTA welcomes this additional support funding.   This announcement comes after discussions between Government officials and industry groups, including the SLTA, to provide extra support funding for those in the licensed hospitality sector who did not qualify for any earlier support grants introduced since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We also welcome the extra support for the sector in general after branding the package of support announced earlier this month by the Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, as bad as hearing a ‘Christmas Cracker Joke’.

However, these additional financial support measures have 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 as we are losing any resemblance of the vitally important Christmas and New Year trade.

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.

We remember Christmas past, we are suffering Christmas present, and who knows what Christmas future will bring. With the right support, delivered now, businesses might just survive in 2021 to once again provide the festive celebrations that we will all miss so dearly.”

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