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Covid-19: Economic Support

Part of Scotland – in the House of Commons on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Wendy Chamberlain Wendy Chamberlain Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Development), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

I add my thanks to the people of Scotland for the effort they are making, particularly those who are already volunteering and providing vital services to those in their communities who are vulnerable.

In the past 24 hours, I have been contacted by several different local businesses in the self-catered accommodation industry. They thought they would be eligible for covid-19 grants for small and medium-sized businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality, but yesterday they discovered that they had explicitly been listed by the Scottish Government as not being eligible. Anyone who operates a chalet, a caravan or a B&B is eligible, but self-catering accommodation is specifically excluded, alongside ATM sites, jetties and pigeon lofts, among others.

If my constituents operated elsewhere in the UK, they would be supported. The message from them is clear: without these grants, the self-catering accommodation industry in Scotland is in peril. We cannot let this happen. I appreciate that this is a really difficult and challenging time for Governments, but will the Secretary of State make representations to the Scottish Government to reconsider their exclusions, in order to ensure consistency of support and the future of this industry?