Murdo Fraser confirms there is no ‘new’ cash for Scotland

Murdo Ewing

Murdo Fraser, Scotland’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, confirmed on BBC Radio Scotland this morning that there would be no ‘new’ funding for Scotland included in the £4.6bn lockdown package revealed yesterday by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Instead, the £375m quoted was from the additional guaranteed funding of £1.9bn which was committed to deal with the pandemic.

The Scottish government said the UK government announcement amounted to about £800m of new funding for Scotland due to £1.1bn reflecting their share of PPE Procurement and funding to prepare the NHS for winter.

Now the hospitality industry wants answers from the Scottish Government with regard to how much has actually been awarded and not just allocated and also further funding.

In December the Scottish Government revealed hospitality and tourism businesses across Scotland would benefit from a £104.3 million package of support in the New Year. The cash was part of a £185 million package already agreed,  However at the time businesses were told that the Scottish Government was going to look at what additional support will be needed in light of the restrictions in December – but since the near lockdown has been announced there has been no further announcements from the Scottish Government.

The funding in December, which was to take account of reduced trading, included a monthly £2K monthly payment for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) under £51K and everyone over received £3K a month with grants of £22K going to businesses with an RV of over £51K who had not benefitted from the Pivotal grants or the hotel fund.  However, these grants have not been issued yet – with a suggestion that they will not be available until mid-January at the earliest.

This funding means that Scottish hospitality businesses will receive £500 a week when closed, compared to their Norther Ireland counterparts who are getting on average £800 a week, English operators who are receiving £560 a week and Welsh licensees who are getting a daily rate of £279.

Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group comments, “The money that was agreed last year was prior to lockdown and prior to Rishi Sunak’s announcement yesterday. Now there has to be more funding – surely Barnett money should be coming here too?  This is not a political football this is about allowing the Scottish hospitality industry to survive, indeed all businesses to survive, when they are forced to close by law. Whilst political arguments continue businesses are failing.”

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