A report today by Audit Scotland has revealed that The Scottish Government has reported spending £11.8bn of its allocated £15.5bn spend to the end of December 2021 on measures related to the pandemic – and underspend of £3.7bn.
UKHopsitality is now calling on the Scottish Government to use this underspend to ease hospitality’s rising energy costs and softening consumer confidence.
Commenting on the findings, Leon Thompson, Executive Director for UKHospitality Scotland said, “The report from the Auditor General highlights a considerable underspend in the allocation of Covid support funds. The funds spent by the Scottish Government provided a lifeline to businesses, but the challenges for hospitality continue. With increased energy bills, of up to and in some instances exceeding 200 per cent, rising supply costs and customers already scaling back on discretionary spend, now is the time to consider how it can allocate this underspend to support businesses.
“An obvious way for the Scottish Government to help would be to extend business rate relief for the remainder of this financial year. Ministers should also look at ways to support businesses manage their uncapped energy bills. Our sector remains in a fragile state. If the Scottish Government has unspent business support funds then they must be used to help businesses through these new challenges.”