Hospitality and tourism businesses across Scotland are to benefit from a £104.3 million package of support in the New Year. The cash is part of the £185 million package already agreed, and benefits companies with a rateable value in excess of £51K for the first time. Businesses have also been told that the Scottish Government is going to look at what additional support will be needed in light of moving mainland Scotland to level 4 and the Scottish islands to level 3 from Boxing Day.
The package sees £50.8 million put aside for these businesses who have not received support from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Hotel Support Programme, particularly those with a rateable value above £51K, and some additional support to smaller businesses impacted by restrictions. A further £19.2 million will be used to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses
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.
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.
“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.”
Stephen Montgomery of the Scottish Hospitality Group said, “Today’s announcement on support for the hardest hit sector in Scotland is very much welcomed, however this may too late for many. The Scottish Hospitality Group have worked with Scotland’s other trade bodies, on this, to ensure the Scottish Government, targetted the funding to those that needed it the most. Those who have fallen through the gaps previously, can now apply for grants and importantly, the funding comes without a cap. The cash will also benefit those below £51rv who are also very much in need. We have done the hard work so now is down to Government to make sure that the roll-out of this funding, which is still minimal considering the revenue that the industry has lost, is immediate. We have already seen the amount of late payments that people are waiting for from October, so I hope that the Scottish Government will have learned from this and devised a better action plan for delivery to these businesses who need it now.
He continued, “This must not be the only funding made available after the announcement on Saturday where yet again hospitality will be hardest hit. Ongoing support is now called for and Kate Forbes must now dip into her £340m reserve to fund this.
Other areas set to benefit include: £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
Details and opening dates for all funding pots will be announced in due course.