The Scottish Conservatives are calling on the SNP to avoid a “wave of job losses” after a major hospitality body said a £40 million pot won’t “touch the sides” for 20,000 businesses impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
Scottish Hospitality Group spokesman Steven Montgomery today said SNP funding plans are “absolutely no good at all” and won’t stop redundancies across Scotland.
His warning came after Scotland’s business community asked Nicola Sturgeon’s government how it would use its £700 million share of extra Covid funding announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday.
And the UK Hospitality body said the SNP’s £40m handout will not be enough, calling for an outline of further financial support, as soon as possible.
On today’s broadcast of Good Morning Scotland, Mr Montgomery said:
“The funding that is coming our way is absolutely no good at all, it’s not going to touch the sides, we’re looking at bringing redundancies forward...
“Forty million pounds might sound like a lot of money but ... Liverpool City Council brought £40 million over a weekend to support 3,000 businesses and in Scotland here we have £40 million to support 20,000 businesses that are subjected to restrictions of some kind.
“It opens on 20 October but we don’t know when we are going to get paid it.
“The people that are indirectly affected by it — how much they are going to get? When they are going to get it?
“People are having to pay wages — this should have all been planned long before the announcement last week.”
Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said the allocation would not stem "the wave of job losses” with £40m for all Scotland’s impacted businesses.
"Scotland’s hospitality sector employs more than quarter of a million Scots.
“Kate Forbes’ £40m is paltry, piecemeal and it won’t stem the wave of job losses which is coming.
“The Chancellor's announcement meant another £700 million for Scotland, to help businesses which have been affected by Covid restrictions, with the total guaranteed by the Treasury now at £7.2bn.
“It’s time the SNP really dug deep to help a beleaguered sector and protect as many jobs as possible.”
Notes for editors
The exchange can be found here (Good Morning Scotland, 16 October 2020, link)
£40m for Liverpool is found here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-54415873
UK Hospitality called on the SNP to make more support available for Scotland’s hospitality businesses and said £40 million will not be enough (UK Hospitality, 15 October 2020, link)
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said businesses support must be available ‘immediately’ if further restrictions are to be imposed. (Scottish Chambers of Commerce, 15 October 2020, link)
The Federation of Small Businesses in the Highlands and Islands warned that businesses would be ‘horrified’ by new restrictions. (Ross-Shire Journal, 12 October 2020, link)
The manager of The Mallard in Dingwall said new restrictions of hospitality were ‘screwing the nails down’ on the coffin. (Ross-Shire Journal, 12 October 2020, link)
The manager of Aberdeen’s Orchid Bar said the ‘latest restrictions would be the final nail in the coffin’ for many venues across Aberdeen. (Aberdeen Evening Express, 9 October 2020, link)