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UKH: ‘£40m Scottish pot not enough’

Published:  16 October, 2020

UK Hospitality (UKH) has warned that the £40m pot of financial support provided by the Scottish government is not enough to keep the hospitality industry alive.

The trade body said that the Scottish government “must go further” to support the country’s hospitality businesses if it is to have any hope of keeping businesses alive and jobs safe. 

Calling for further financial support “as soon as possible”, it welcomed financial support for hospitality businesses, which are either closed or operating under severe restrictions, and supply chain businesses. 

The reality however was that the £40m pot made available by the Scottish government "is not going to be nearly enough", said Willie Macleod, UKH executive director for Scotland. 

“It will be nowhere near enough to offset the massive hit businesses have taken. It will not keep businesses afloat and it will not keep enough jobs safe.

“Compulsory closures in the central belt and the trading restrictions elsewhere are biting hard. Consumer confidence is also low which means revenue is down and cash flow reduced. Businesses need cash in order to survive and keep as many of their employees as possible in jobs,” he said.

“The Scottish government needed to announce “as soon as possible how it will use its share, understood to be £700m, of the £1.3bn allocated last Friday by the Chancellor to the devolved governments”, he added.

“It must use a significant chunk of this to help the beleaguered hospitality sector and its employees. Many hospitality businesses including nightclubs, meeting spaces and conference venues are, as yet, unable to re-open and they need the support that has hitherto been denied them.”

Macleod also took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of a change in the way restrictions are being rolled-out.

“It is increasingly incumbent on government to provide adequate notice of restrictions being placed on businesses and, at the same time, provide full details of how these businesses will be supported,” he said. 

The call for further support follows last week’s announcement by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that on-trade businesses across the country’s central belt, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, had to shut down for 16 days from last Friday.