Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced top-up funding to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions.
In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will now also get a one-off grant:
- £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses (RV over £51,001) on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
- £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses (RV rateable value of £51,000 or less) on top of the 4-weekly £2,000
- £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses (rateable value of £51,001) on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
- £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses (rateable value of £51,001) on top of the 4-weekly £2,000
In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund will get an automatic top-up.
For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payment for the Strategic Framework Business Fund due to go to businesses on 25 January.
Businesses that haven’t yet applied for either of these funds should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website. Applications are now open.
Ms Forbes said:, “Since the start of the pandemic Scottish Government support for business and the economy has reached almost £3 billion – more than a third of our total coronavirus (COVID-19) funding, demonstrating our commitment to provide as much help as we possibly can to our businesses.
“As promised, this additional support for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses will be available this month, in some cases doubling or tripling the amount of support we are providing. Applications are open now and payment will be made this month.
“Crucially this essential funding will also help to close the gaps in UK wide support for these impacted sectors and our one-off support for larger hospitality premises of £25,000 is considerably more generous than the £9,000 grant on offer in England.
“I’d encourage all eligible businesses to apply through their local authority if they have not done so already. Of course, we are acutely aware that this support can never compensate for the full impact on business, but we must work within the resources that are available to us, and we continue to respond to the evolving economic challenges arising from the pandemic.”
However, hospitality experts pointed out that businesses in England got a £25,000 grant last year and they are now getting an extra £9,000. They are, each of them, still at least £9,000 better off than their Scottish counterparts, and they had the benefit of the £25,000 grant months ago.
UKHospitality Scotland also warned that the new package of financial support unveiled will not be enough to prevent some hospitality businesses from failure and jobs being permanently lost.
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Willie Macleod said, “Additional financial assistance is always welcome, but the reality is that this is not going to be enough. We are talking about businesses that now have no revenue, or next to no revenue, whatsoever.
“The sector’s ability to generate any sort of income is almost non-existent, particularly for businesses in mainland Scotland. Financial support must go further if we want businesses to stay afloat and jobs to survive.
“Hospitality has the potential to drive Scotland’s economic recovery once the crisis has passed. We provide jobs right across the country and we can play a pivotal role in getting people out and about, investing in their communities again. We can only do this if businesses have not gone under in the meantime. We need the support now, otherwise we will not be able to help in the weeks and months ahead.
“We need confirmation that the VAT cut and business rates holiday will be extended. This will, at least, give hospitality businesses some sense of stability and allow them to plan for what is going to be a very difficult year.”