Debate for hospitality minister held, but how many businesses will fall before decision is made?

Scottish Parliament UKHospitality Scotland
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Cross-party support in Westminster highlights the importance of hospitality and more help is required on both sides of the border as UKHospitality Scotland warns that financial package will not stop businesses going to the wall.

 

UKHospitality has welcomed this week’s debate in Parliament which it, says, highlights the overwhelming support for the sector and the need for additional supportive measures.

The debate on support for the hospitality industry was made possible when a petition, calling for the creation of a Minister for Hospitality, exceeded by double the 100,000 signatures necessary to trigger a debate – before going on to double that number.

Kate Nicholls
Kate Nicholls Chief Executive, UKHospitality

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls claimed there was a clear demonstration of strong cross-part support for an extension of the VAT cut and the business rates holiday. She said: “These are going to be crucial if we hope to see businesses survive the year. Announcing an extension of both of these policies, at the earliest possible opportunity, will provide some much-needed stability for our sector and allow businesses to begin planning. Equally clear is that a great many MPs recognise that this additional support will be necessary if the sector is to survive and lead the national revival.

“Referring to the mood of the debate she added: “It was incredibly positive to hear so many MPs being vocal advocates of the hospitality sector. There was unanimous recognition of our importance economically and socially. There was also welcome recognition for our critical supply chain.

“It is striking that, in the end, the petition got more than 200,000 signatures. We all understand the importance of what we do and it is good to see the Government recognise the importance of working closely with the sector to ensure that we are properly supported, not just during this crisis but more generally.”

North of the border UKHospitality Scotland has warned that the new package of financial support announced by the Scottish Government will not be enough to prevent some hospitality businesses from failure and jobs being permanently lost. The Scottish Government confirmed that, in addition to the grants, businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one-off grant of £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000 and £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000. However, UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Willie Macleod said: “Additional financial assistance is always welcome, but the reality is that this is not going to be enough. “The sector’s ability to generate any sort of income is almost non-existent, particularly for businesses in mainland Scotland. Financial support must go further if we want businesses to stay afloat and jobs to survive. “Hospitality has the potential to drive Scotland’s economic recovery once the crisis has passed. We provide jobs right across the country and we can play a pivotal role in getting people out and about, investing in their communities again. We can only do this if businesses have not gone under in the meantime. We need the support now, otherwise we will not be able to help in the weeks and months ahead. “We need confirmation that the VAT cut and business rates holiday will be extended. This will, at least, give hospitality businesses some sense of stability and allow them to plan for what is going to be a very difficult year.”


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