Hotels (Support)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 16th December 2020.

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Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

3. To ask the Scottish Government what support it has provided for hotels during the Covid-19 pandemic. (S5O-04835)

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Hotels across Scotland have been severely impacted, which is why we established the dedicated hotel support programme, with £14 million of dedicated funding. In addition, some hotels have had 100 per cent rates relief and access to grants for closed and impacted businesses. I assure Ms Baillie and other members that we are doing all that we can to support hotels with the resources that we have.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

The cabinet secretary will know that the hotel support programme was vastly oversubscribed and that many hotels in my constituency and across Scotland have not received any support whatsoever, so they are really struggling. Although the £2,000 and £3,000 grants that have been announced are most welcome, that does not even begin to touch the sides of the issues that hotels face. What more can the cabinet secretary do to help before those hotels go to the wall?

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

The hotel fund, which was designed to help support the retention of around 3,000 jobs, was designed for the hotels with the largest payrolls—those with a minimum of 50 staff overall, I think.

Ms Baillie is correct to say that many hotels face enormous pressures. She and I have discussed the plight of hotels in her constituency on numerous occasions. I am extremely sympathetic to that. The one-off payments of £2,000 or £3,000—the amount will depend on rateable value—in January will assist hotels to deal with the difficult time of year.

In addition, further support of more than £60 million will be provided to the tourism sector. Details of that are being developed with representatives of the various segments of business, and I hope to make an announcement on those details as soon as possible.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

David Torrance has a supplementary question.

Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

What discussions is the cabinet secretary having with the sector about further support?

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Such discussions take place almost all the time. On Monday, we had detailed discussions with some of Scotland’s leading chefs. This morning, I had discussions with leading tourism voices in Aberdeen. I am in regular discussion with Marc Crothall of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Fiona Campbell of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, Stephen Montgomery in respect of the hospitality side, Wildland Scotland and Sail Scotland. Those discussions take place because we need to work as closely as possible with business to ensure that we provide the most effective support in the most effective way, without it having unintended consequences. I am very grateful to all the business representatives who freely give their time to help us with that essential task.