UKHospitality Scotland: 'We need support from government – not punishment'

10 December 2021 by
UKHospitality Scotland: 'We need support from government – not punishment'

Trade body UKHospitality Scotland has accused the Scottish government of failing the hospitality industry due to a lack of support measures in its 2022/23 Budget.

Hospitality and leisure businesses in Scotland will continue to receive 50% business rates relief for the first three months of the next financial year.

Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes said the discount, which is capped at £27,500 per ratepayer, would prevent a "cliff edge for businesses".

But UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson warned the plans offered little help to restaurants, hotels and pubs, which were seeing their Christmas bookings disappear amid concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus

Thompson said: "It provides little hope to businesses at risk of financial free-fall as they face a much-reduced Christmas and New Year trading period due to concerns over the spread of Omicron.

"The extension of business rate relief of 50% from April to June 2022 simply moves the financial pressures a little further down the line and does nothing to eliminate the very real challenges that our businesses face.

"With increased cancellations, many businesses face stark months ahead. Many had pinned their hopes on today's budget statement and will now be facing very difficult choices. It's a difficult juncture for both owners and their workers."

Thompson also criticised Budget documents that revealed plans to revisit a possible tourist tax in Scotland, warning against measures that would "limit opportunity for recovery".

Following the Budget announcement, Public Health Scotland "strongly urged" the public to defer plans for Christmas parties amid concern over Omicron.

Thompson warned that businesses and jobs were on the line, with Christmas and Hogmanay trade in "tatters". He added : "We need support and a joined-up approach from our government – not punishment. Hospitality businesses across the country are justified in feeling outraged."

Image: Weho/

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