Budget Update

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th December 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

I thank the cabinet secretary for advance sight of her statement—albeit on a rather shorter timescale than what we are used to, but nevertheless we received it—and for the statement itself.

The UK Treasury has guaranteed an additional £8.2 billion—an unprecedented sum—to support public services, businesses and individuals in Scotland that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. That money does no one any good while it is sitting in the Scottish Government’s bank accounts, and we have consistently called for it to be paid out and for an accounting, so I welcome the breakdown that we have heard today. I welcome the commitments that have been made, specifically the sum of £15 million for the wedding sector, which we had called for, and the money for the travel and tourism sector, taxi companies and all the other initiatives.

I have three specific questions in relation to what has been announced today. First, can the cabinet secretary confirm that the tourism money will be available to support providers of self-catering holiday accommodation? She said that details will be announced in due course by Fergus Ewing. When can we expect that announcement? Many people are waiting for confirmation of when those funds might be available.

Secondly, the cabinet secretary referred to the £30 million discretionary fund for local councils. I know that local councils have now been waiting for three weeks to get details of how the fund will operate. How much discretion will they have in how the money is allocated? If tourism is a major part of the local economy, for example, will a council be able to allocate funds to that sector, notwithstanding the fact that a dedicated sum for tourism is already accounted for—