Trade bodies demand ‘meaningful financial support’ as many hospitality businesses ‘still under extreme pressure’

Leon-Thompson-Headshot

UKHospitality Scotland has demanded more meaningful levels of financial support for hospitality businesses by the Scottish government amid a delay in lifting restrictions further for much of the country while Scottish Hospitality Group spokesman Stephen Montgomery says that despite Glasgow’s move to level 2, nightclubs and music venues are still being left out in the cold financially.

First minister Nicola Surgeon announced yesterday that Glasgow will move to level 2 from level 3 this weekend while the majority of the islands will move from level 1 to level 0. But many parts of Scotland will not proceed to the next step of the country’s roadmap out of lockdown and remain at level 2.

UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson (pictured) said, “The delay in moving 14 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities to level 1 from level 2 now begs the question of when they might be able to move – an answer is important if businesses are to best plan for survival. The hospitality sector remains fragile after more than 15 months of closure and severely disrupted trading.

“While the announcement provides progress for some, businesses need to hear the Scottish government will provide meaningful levels of financial support to help them continue to trade and safeguard the jobs of their employees.”

Scottish Hospitality Group spokesman Stephen Montgomery added, “It’s good news that businesses in Glasgow are being released from level 3. And wedding venues moving to level 1 will be able to host 100 guests. But it’s devastating news for the brides and grooms across the central belt who were counting on a change, and all the venues that will end up refunding thousands of pounds. None of this helps nightclubs and many music venues either, so we can’t forget that there are many in the sector still under extreme pressure

“The further reduction in hospitalised Covid admissions shows that the vaccination effort is working, so surely case numbers don’t matter if those people who do test positive remain fit and healthy. We don’t place restrictions on entire cities when it’s winter flu season, so why on earth are we doing it now? And how can businesses trust what the government is saying about the future when the objectives keep changing.

“We invite the First Minister and her cabinet colleagues to visit our premises and learn for themselves how damaging and distressing their approach is. She acknowledged today in the chamber that all their decisions have not been perfect. We can confirm from bitter experience how right she is. But it’s never too late to listen, learn and change.”

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