Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called on the Scottish Government to hold an urgent review of the financial support available for hospitality and tourism businesses and for the government to increase the number and value of COVID-19 grants that are available for these sectors.
This call was made during a debate led by Scottish Labour within the Scottish Parliament on the need for greater support for the hospitality and tourism industries.
Jackie Baillie spoke of the number of hospitality and tourism businesses in the constituency – in particular local hotels and B&Bs – that have found the last eight months hugely difficult and have not been successful in their applications for financial support. Due to travel restrictions and coronavirus regulations, hotels are seeing significant drops in the number of bookings being made and many are not finding it financially viable to open at all.
Baillie also spoke on behalf of restaurant owners who wanted to understand the evidence over the restrictions to alcohol sales. This inability to sell alcohol at all in tier three areas, and only with a meal until 8pm in tier two, has seen businesses lose significant proportions of their revenue.
With a further £1 billion worth of business support funds being transferred to the Scottish government from the UK government, Jackie Baillie is calling on Scottish Ministers to ensure that funds are passed on to businesses most in need as quickly as possible.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“Our local economy relies heavily on trade from the hospitality and tourism sector. Businesses in this sector – especially hotels and B&Bs – are going to suffer the devastating economic effects of COVID-19 long after other sectors and businesses begin to recover.
“I am aware of a number of local businesses who have found themselves ineligible for support. The Scottish Government must urgently restructure its eligibility criteria to ensure that no business is left behind and that includes supply chain companies that provide goods and services to our hotels and restaurants.
“The Scottish Government has the power and finances to increase the support that these businesses need. It must ensure sector-specific support is given as soon as possible to give these businesses the best chance of surviving.”