Yesterday (26 May) Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture, announced further support for Scottish businesses including extending the small business retail, hospitality and leisure grant to businesses that occupy multiple premises with a cumulative value above £51,000.
However, no grant support was extended to those businesses occupying premises with a rateable value above £51,000.
“This is a disappointing move by the Scottish Government that will see too many businesses in dire need of support continue to be excluded from the grant scheme," says Willie Macleod, UKHospitality executive director for Scotland.
“There is still no grant support for those businesses occupying premises with a rateable value above £51k. These businesses have been hit just as hard as any other. They are not being shielded from the effects of COVID-19 simply because their premises are more more highly rated.
“These businesses have had no revenue since lockdown began on 23 March, are incurring significant costs while closed, an average of £60,000 per month, and are at severe risk of going out of business altogether with the potential loss of thousands of jobs.
“We hope that these businesses will be able to help spearhead the economic recovery of Scotland once the crisis has passed. They will not be able to if they have gone out of business before they have a chance to reopen. Grant support must be extended to these businesses, otherwise we are going to see even more failures and more people unemployed.”
Last week the Scottish Government said it would "no longer discourage" takeaway and drive-thru food outlets from reopening, as it set out the four-phase "route map" for restarting the country following the Coronavirus lockdown. However, under those plans, restaurants will have to remain closed for the time being.