The Scottish government’s £14m Hotel Support Programme has been overwhelmed with 295 applications when it was originally designed to help only 60 businesses prompting claims of a “catastrophic miscalculation” by Labour’s deputy leader and finance spokesman Jackie Baillie about the level of support needed .
The Scottish government has said it expected to provide support for more than the 60 hotels earmarked for help, but it is not clear if it will meet the demand.
Speaking in the Scottish parliament, Jackie Baillie said, “The SNP’s catastrophic miscalculation on the level of support needed risks leaving scores of hotels high and dry and puts the jobs of thousands of workers at risk. Tourism is pivotal to Scotland’s economy, but the SNP are playing fast and loose with the very future of the industry by providing such limited support. Frankly, the support on offer doesn’t touch the sides. It’s time for SNP ministers to go back to the drawing board and come up with a proper plan to protect our hotel industry.”
Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said in response it remains unclear how many hotels will get support because talks are continuing with a “small number” of applicants about the detail of their support package.
He said, “Originally, the Hotel Support Programme was expected to support in the region of 60 hotels. Despite the programme being heavily oversubscribed following the submission of 295 expressions of interest, our expectation is we will be able to exceed the original expected number of hotels supported.”