We completely understand the severe impact of the pandemic on tourism in Scotland, particularly in our cities, and we have acted quickly to provide financial support, which now exceeds £2.3 billion in total.
We have provided a range of different grants and rates relief tailored to the differing needs of tourism and hospitality businesses throughout Scotland. We recently launched our £14 million hotel recovery programme to help to secure up to 3,000 jobs at Scotland’s larger hotels, and we are supporting the events industry with additional funding of £10 million.
We are working hard with industry to identify further action, with the tourism task force central to that process.
Of course we want to ensure that businesses that suffer financial hardship as a result of the Covid pandemic get what assistance they can. That has been the watchword and the approach here. The approach is not to compensate for all lost revenue or income, which is impossible; rather, it is to identify financial hardship and seek to alleviate it.
I am very happy to work with Johann Lamont and, indeed, all other members who identify any particular business that they believe is in a situation of financial hardship and has not received support. However, I believe that, at this particular point in the pandemic, we have close to exhausted the funding that is available to us to meet those compensations. I appreciate that the situation is extremely difficult for Ms Lamont’s constituents and many businesses around Scotland, and we will continue to do everything that we can in practical and pragmatic terms to alleviate the financial hardship that has been caused to tourism businesses by the Covid pandemic.
The Presiding Officer:
My apologies to Sandra White and, in particular, Jamie Halcro Johnston, who waited patiently to ask his question a second time. I am afraid that we have overrun and gone too far, and we now have to move on to the next item of business. There will be a short pause while we do so.