According to the trade body’s research, less than 50% of licensed premises in Scotland are able to reopen for outdoor trading on 26 April yet the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework Business Fund will cease a week before on 19 April.
Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) says operators in Scotland have had to take on an average of £80k debt per site just to survive ongoing lockdowns and is calling for the appointment of a ‘hospitality tsar’ following claims that the government’s level of industry knowledge is ‘pitiful’.
“A day of reckoning is coming for debt strapped Scottish businesses and as politicians prioritise the electoral trail, they are needlessly cutting a financial lifeline,” warns SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery.
“From 19 April hospitality businesses will no longer receive any support from the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework Business Fund, following a one-off restart grant aimed at providing money up front to help with the costs of re-opening.”
“The only certainty SHG can take from this roadmap is that our strategic grant support will be ended on 19 April. It’s senseless and again highlights Ministers’ lack of knowledge of our sector – 12 months down the line this is pitiful. Grants should be maintained until a business can return to trading normally.”
According to SHG, only 20% of pubs will be able to reopen on 26 April and only 25% of all licensed business have access to outside space.
The Scottish Government has also been heavily criticised for believing that pubs can trade viably and support jobs while not being allowed to sell alcohol.