Maritime Businesses (Support)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 10 February 2021.

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Photo of Rhoda Grant Rhoda Grant Labour

The First Minister is aware that businesses have received support on the basis of rateable value. Maritime businesses do not have a rateable value, but they have similar costs, such as berthing dues, loans and rental payments, and they have received no help. They might qualify for councils’ discretionary payments, but those are inadequate to meet their needs and are a fraction of what their land-based equivalents have received. Will the First Minister undertake to ensure that they get an equivalent level of support?

The First Minister:

I will ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance to look at the perspective that the member highlights and to consider whether there is more action that we can take. With any system of financial support, we need a system on which to base eligibility. Although it is not perfect, I think that rateable value is, so far, the best one that we can have. We have recognised that some businesses will fall through the cracks, however, which is why other sectoral schemes have been put in place. Councils have also been given money, and the finance secretary has recently indicated that there will be an increase in that money, to be used at councils’ discretion, for businesses that do not fulfil the criteria of any of the other schemes.

We will continue to look at what more we can do, and I will ask the cabinet secretary to respond to the member when she has had an opportunity to look, in particular, at the maritime sector.