Results 261–280 of 8600 for speaker:Fergus Ewing

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Shetland) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: We recognise the particular challenges that Shetland faces at the moment. We have acted quickly to deliver more than £2.34 billion in support to Scottish businesses through rates relief and grant support, and £22.5 million of support to seafood, fishing and aquaculture, which are so important to Beatrice Wishart’s constituents. I believe that approximately £7 million in grant finance is...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Shetland) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I have a great deal of sympathy with the general argument, which is also being made by members who represent the other island groups in Scotland, about the short duration of the season. Just this week, I put that point again to the United Kingdom tourism minister Nigel Huddleston, and argued that it should be considered very seriously. Businesses need a bit of help to see them through to...

Scottish Parliament: Lockdown (Cross-border Holidays) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Our good friends from south of the border are always welcome to Scotland, but at this time the guidance for everyone—irrespective of borders—is to travel locally only, for no more than about 5 miles, for leisure or exercise, no matter where they are located.

Scottish Parliament: Lockdown (Cross-border Holidays) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I am pleased to say that we work very closely together. We meet Nigel Huddleston, the UK minister who is responsible for tourism, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism in Wales, and colleagues from Northern Ireland every fortnight. We have had numerous discussions, and the question of travel between our nations has been talked about frequently. We all agree...

Scottish Parliament: Tourism (Support) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: We are providing more than £2.3 billion of support, including almost £900 million of non-domestic rates relief, £1.3 billion in business grants schemes, and £185 million targeted at small businesses and the newly self-employed. We have provided bespoke assistance via the pivotal enterprise resilience fund and the creative, tourism and hospitality enterprises hardship fund. Additionally,...

Scottish Parliament: Tourism (Support) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: If the member wishes to raise with me any individual case in his area, of course I will look at that specifically. I should just say, however, that we set up the bespoke pivotal enterprise resilience fund and the creative, tourism and hospitality enterprises hardship fund precisely because many businesses missed out on qualifying from the initial grant fund, which was based on premises that...

Scottish Parliament: Tourism (Support) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: As Mr Smyth has recognised, the pivotal enterprise resilience fund has been a source of potential grant finance to many businesses whose rateable value is in excess of £51,000. That is a bespoke fund and it is available, but not all businesses qualify. There are rules—there have to be rules—and I am very sorry that we cannot support every business. However, that is the reality. I know...

Scottish Parliament: Coach Holiday Industry (Support) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I have had detailed discussions with the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which I believe represents around about 100 of the 300 coach companies involved in tourism. I know just how important they are. We have seen, sadly, the loss of Shearings, which was a hugely successful coach tour business and which provided business to many hotels throughout, for example, the west Highlands. I have...

Scottish Parliament: Coach Holiday Industry (Support) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Yes. I expect that the task force will want to consider that, because coaches are a vital part of our tourism sector, taking people to and from hotels, beauty spots, visitor attractions, cities and cruise liners—and doing so in very high-quality coaches. It is therefore essential that we consider how we can help them survive this period. They have considerable fixed costs and, like...

Scottish Parliament: Bed and Breakfasts (Support) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: We are providing considerable financial support to the tourism sector, which includes B and B businesses that do not have a business bank account and were not previously eligible for support for that reason. Three million pounds has been made available—repurposed from the newly self-employed hardship fund—and applications are expected to open on 15 June. I am informed that, by tomorrow,...

Scottish Parliament: Bed and Breakfasts (Support) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: The history of the matter is straightforward. The grant support was initially provided to tourism businesses that pay business rates. Many bed and breakfast businesses do not pay business rates, although the owners pay council tax because they live in their own house, as we all do. The gap was where we failed to provide the grant systems for those small businesses—namely, bed and breakfasts...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: The current situation with Covid-19 is one of the biggest challenges that we have faced in our lifetimes. Preservation of life has been our overriding objective since the start of this crisis; it is that simple. By staying at home and following the physical distancing guidance, the people of Scotland are doing everything that they can to protect our national health service and social care...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Presiding Officer, I was having a little difficulty in making out every word that Ms Hamilton said, which might be because of a problem with the sound system. I therefore apologise if I do not answer all the points that she raised. I point out that my colleagues and I are working round the clock to provide financial support to businesses. That is intended not to restore lost revenue, which...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: The Scottish Government has been working closely with the industry and has also involved the relevant trade unions in order to devise guidance, which we have now completed. We have put that to the relevant health officials and are aiming to publish it on 18 June. That would provide a sufficient period for preparations to be made, such as adapting premises for social distancing, ordering in...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I am well aware that Mr Crawford represents a constituency that contains some of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland, including the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park—the park that he shares, in political terms, with Jackie Baillie, from whom I expect we will hear later. Therefore, it is absolutely vital to Mr Crawford and his constituents that we do our best to help...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I am pleased that there is some support from the Conservative Party for the measures that we have announced today and the conditional indicative date of 15 July. I share the member’s concerns that public transport will, of necessity, be constrained because of the requirement to comply with social distancing. The need for that measure is a view that is shared across these islands. The fact...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: There is a strong case for a suspension or reduction of VAT. In fact, I raised that with the UK Government just yesterday in one of a series of calls that I have had with Nigel Huddleston, the UK tourism minister. I have to say that he is a very constructive person to deal with on a factual basis, and he understands the damage to tourism. I understand that he has made 15 asks of the...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: As I understand it, it is not yet possible to determine to what extent there will be an underspend of the grant funds, although I hope that that will be clear shortly. However, it is right that money that is intended to provide mitigation of financial hardship for businesses in tourism should be used for that. Whether it is bed and breakfasts, hotels, visitor attractions, coach companies,...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: That case has been well made by businesses and individual owners of static or fixed-unit caravans on caravan sites for precisely the reasons that the member states. They have a strong case, but the issue is with travelling to and from caravan sites. We have suggested a date of 15 July, because that is when we anticipate that the general travel restrictions can be lifted. Only at that point...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Tourism) (10 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I am sorry, Presiding Officer. I could not hear the last sentence, which contained the question.


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