£14m Hotel Recovery Programme announced in Scotland

Scotland: The Scottish government has announced a new funding package that will help to secure 3000 jobs until the start of summer 2021.

As part of the package, eligible businesses can apply for individual grants of up to £250,000.

The scheme will be jointly administered by the Scottish government’s enterprise agencies and VisitScotland, with the latter pledging to deliver an additional one million in grants to self-catering businesses that have not received any other COVID-19 support.

Qualifying businesses can receive a one-off £10,000 grant.

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We recognise the important contribution the hotel sector makes to tourism and the wider Scottish economy, supporting approximately 46,000 jobs across the country. The Scottish government is doing everything in its power to support the tourism industry, however without significant borrowing powers at our disposal this action will always be limited. Whilst we very much welcome measures taken by the UK government, such as accepting our call to cut VAT rates for the tourism industry, longer-term support for jobs is necessary. I hope the UK government responds positively to our ask for an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.”

Willie Macleod, UKHospitality executive director for Scotland, commented: “The £14m programme is a positive sign of intent, but it is going to be a drop in the ocean for the sector. Support will need to be much more extensive to ensure it reaches all businesses who need it. UKH estimates that there are around 950 larger hotels in Scotland, with a rateable value over £51,000, which did not qualify for grants that were available to smaller businesses. Many were unable to access government-backed loans or the Hardship and Pivotal grants provided by Scottish government. On average, hotels had to meet £60,000 each month during lockdown to cover fixed costs. A budget of £14m may mean that only 50 businesses, five per cent of larger hotels, will be supported if each qualifies for the maximum sum. This is not enough to avert the crisis facing the sector.”

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