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SLTA News And Updates 24th April

SLTA News and Updates 24th April

Scottish Government publishes framework for decision making. Trade bodies meet with Scottish Government Tourism Minister. Covid-19 business grants must be paid faster, say trade groups. Further lifeline support for businesses confirmed. Take the Scottish Business Survey – impact of covid-19.

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES FRAMEWORK FOR DECISION MAKING.

Details of the framework for lifting of lockdown have been announced by the Scottish Government.

Speaking yesterday at the daily press briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:-

Nicola Sturgeon

Details of the framework for lifting of lockdown have been announced by the Scottish Government.
Speaking yesterday at the daily press briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:-
“Today I am seeking to start a grown-up conversation with the public about the complex decisions that lie ahead of us as we look beyond lockdown.

As we have done all along, we will seek to inform the public with the best scientific advice possible, but the science will never be exact and we are in uncharted territory so we also need to make careful judgements and be prepared to adapt and change course as we go.

We want to ease restrictions, but we cannot rule out having to reapply them should the virus run out of control.

Every day we see evidence that this virus causes real harm, but so too do the lockdown measures we are taking to contain it. This is causing harm to the economy and living standards, to children’s education and to mental health and wellbeing.
That is why we need to try to find a better balance than the one we have now, but as we do so we cannot take our eye off the need to suppress the virus and minimise the damage it does.

It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away.

As we start to lift the restrictions, the real risk is that COVID-19 runs rampant again so a return to normal as we knew it is not on the cards in the near future.

What we will be seeking to find is a new normal – a way of living alongside this virus, but in a form that keeps it under control. Physical distancing and limiting our contacts with others will be a fact of life for a long time to come – certainly until treatments and ultimately a vaccine offer different solutions.

But if we all keep doing the right things, there will be a way through – and we will find it, together.”

The First Minister also said that this paper is the start of a process and will evolve into a detailed plan within the coming weeks and “big gatherings and events are likely to be off for some months to come.”

You can read the document ‘Covid-19 – A Framework for Decision Making’ here.

TRADE BODIES MEET WITH SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT TOURISM MINISTER

Through the Scottish Tourism Alliance, trade bodies including the SLTA, held a conference call with Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism.

The Cabinet Secretary started the meeting by saying that he was keen to hear about gaps that hadn’t been filled.  He also talked about how the Scottish Government is looking at how restrictions can be lifted appropriately and what signals are required for businesses prior to this and when.

Fergus Ewing

Mr Ewing commented it was his duty to “stand up for the tourism sector” and ensure that we have the support we need also highlighting that Scottish and UK Ministers acknowledge that there is a need for continued support for the sector as things are going to take a long time to get back to where we were before.

He highlighted his efforts, and those of the Scottish Government in lobbying the UK Government over the desperate situation that around 2,400 businesses are in as a result of being unable to access grants due to their property have a rateable value of over £51k.

Mr Ewing also said that the furlough scheme needs to be extended beyond June or continued in a way that business that do resume activity do so with a proportion of their staff and he will continue to push the UK government for this.

He mentioned that he would like to start discussing recovery on future calls and highlighted the need for steps to be taken well in advance and the importance of clarity around the rules.


Among the issues discussed at the meeting were:-

  • Pathway to Recovery Consultation.
  • What businesses can do to improve their ‘green’ credentials during this quiet/inactive period to prepare for when things do change.
  • The latest Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers (ASSC) survey – the ASSC surveyed over 1200 people and found that only 15% of them had received any funding support.  The need for clearer guidelines on eligibility for grants was highlighted by the association and an ask for the Scottish Government to intervene with the Westminster government with regards to the technicalities of how HMRC obtains financial details in relation to Furnished Holiday Let income.
  • Lockdown exit strategy.
  • The need for clarification on the latest Scottish Government funding announcement.
  • How destinations can access support and guidance in relation to considering and developing recovery plans.
  • Grants not being issued and slow processing of grants within certain local authorities.
  • The need for insurance companies to extend holiday periods for the events sector – most event companies pay their public liability, contents and motors monthly by D/D. With no income coming in, payments are not being met and insurance companies are threatening to cancel policies.  These need to be in place as offices and yards are now lying full of equipment with no one around.
  • Privately funded DMOs are disadvantaged over publicly funded DMOs. Most DMOs are publicly funded so are still operating. There needs to be more support for DMOs.
  • The impact of cancellation of events run by voluntary groups – these events are usually organised by voluntary groups and contribute greatly to the wider tourism economy of the area.  Many of the licenses have been to host these events have been paid for and some local authorities are retaining the fees that have been paid.  There needs to be reassurance that not-for-profit groups will not be penalised for being responsible and cancelling events with plenty of notice.
  • The need for clarity on furlough details.
  • The idea of a staged lifting of lockdown restrictions, on a sectoral basis
  • The development of appropriate lending instruments for seasonal businesses.
  • The RV £51k issue.

COVID-19 BUSINESS GRANTS MUST BE PAID FASTER, SAY TRADE GROUPS courtesy of SLTNews

Trade groups say time is critical for operators who have not yet received “lifeline” business grants and that more must be done to make payments faster, after figures from the Scottish Government showed grants have so far been paid to a third of the businesses that applied.

The figures, released last Friday, show that 59,385 applications for the Coronavirus Small Business Grant scheme had been made by April 14, with 18,528 businesses having received payments.

The scheme offers funds in the form of a £10,000 grant for those receiving the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief and a £25,000 grant for the retail, hospitality and leisure sector for rateable values (RVs) between £18,001 and £50,999.

As reported in SLTN the scheme has come under fire for excluding businesses with RVs over £50,999; and for offering a 100% grant on a first property and 75% grant on any subsequent premises, compared to England, where a 100% grant on each property is available.

Colin Wilkinson, Managing Director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said that despite the government’s efforts to make funding available to businesses, there are still thousands of people with nothing.

“The grants are lifelines for businesses and, for us, it’s one thing telling us the numbers that have been issued but it still leaves nearly 41,000 businesses that haven’t had their applications okayed and the money in the bank,” he said.

“I know of people in Edinburgh, Fife and parts of Glasgow who haven’t received anything yet so there are still thousands of people without. Councils already have the details they need from businesses – including their rateable values and bank details – yet we still have to go through this application process which isn’t quick enough.”

FURTHER LIFELINE SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES CONFIRMED

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be available in the coming days.   The £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week will be broken into three separate funds as follows:-

Fiona Hyslop

• £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants

• £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief

• £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland.

Speaking in parliament, the Minister also confirmed that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April, and that recipients will receive funds in early May.

The Minister stated that:-

“This funding is intended to relieve the hardship of individuals and smaller firms that are ineligible for support from the UK Government or are not in receipt yet of the funds they need to survive.   Our hospitality, tourism and creative sectors have been decimated by this crisis and previously profitable businesses have seen demand dry up overnight.

However, because of the decisions the Scottish Government has taken, thousands more self-employed people and small businesses will be able to benefit from support compared with elsewhere, and we have been able to help sectors of the economy that are not being supported in other parts of the UK. 

As well as dealing with this immediate crisis, we must look to the future. We must ensure that those businesses with a part to play in strengthening resilience in Scotland’s economy survive this crisis and thrive in future, which is why £45 million is being allocated to those firms.

We continue to engage with businesses on a regular basis to understand their needs and press the UK Government to deliver for them.”

The recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants. For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access £3,000 hardship grants or larger grants up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed.

The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support.

The recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants.

For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access to £3,000 hardship grants or larger grants up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed.

The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support.

SCOTTISH BUSINESS SURVEY – IMPACT OF COVID -19

TRKR Insight & Innovation is conducting a survey on the impact of Covid-19 on businesses in Scotland.  

We’d appreciate your time to complete the survey, it take around 10 minutes. The report will be published in around two weeks
 
Note: this survey is anonymous, unless you choose to provide your name and business name

Click here to take part.

IN OTHER NEWS…

 Lockdown ‘may be eased and reimposed repeatedly’

Pubs have never faced a foe like coronavirus

Insurance giant faces legal action amid Covid-19 payouts row

Coronavirus in Scotland: SNP MP calls for pub landlords to be given rent freeze

European airlines serving Scotland seek total £9bn bailout

Coronavirus: support ‘must be extended and enhanced’

More thank half of Brits would feel uncomfortable about returning to restaurants after lockdown
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