Hospitality Sector (Support)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd November 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Fulton MacGregor Fulton MacGregor Scottish National Party

6. To ask the Scottish Government what support it is providing to businesses in the hospitality sector, in light of the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis. (S6O-01489)

Photo of Tom Arthur Tom Arthur Scottish National Party

The hospitality sector is vital to Scotland’s economy. We provided more than £4.7 billion in support to businesses during the pandemic, including across the tourism and hospitality sector, and we are closely monitoring impacts of the cost crisis. We are also establishing a tourism and hospitality industry leadership group to drive sustainable long-term recovery.

We maintain competitive non-domestic rates, delivering the lowest non-domestic rates poundage in the United Kingdom for the fourth consecutive year, supporting a package of non-domestic rates reliefs worth £801 million.

In light of increased pressures and limited powers, we will continue to press the United Kingdom Government for support.

Photo of Fulton MacGregor Fulton MacGregor Scottish National Party

During the October recess, I was invited to meet a number of pub owners in Coatbridge Main Street, who expressed real concern about the viability of their businesses in the short term, due to the cost of living crisis, rising energy costs and changes in behaviour following the pandemic.

One of those is the Eden group, which employs nearly 100 people in my constituency and was in

The National this weekend—the minister might have seen that. It called on the chancellor to immediately cut VAT, offer rates assistance and provide some form of recovery funding. Does the minister agree with those calls on the UK Government and will he lend his voice to them?

Photo of Tom Arthur Tom Arthur Scottish National Party

We understand that businesses such as the Eden Group, which operates in Fulton MacGregor’s constituency, continue to face significant challenges, including as a result of the longer-term impact of the pandemic and the cost crisis. We do not underestimate the scale of those challenges. That is why my colleague the Deputy First Minister wrote to Jeremy Hunt, the new chancellor, on 19 October to re-emphasise the need for targeted support for households and businesses, funded by windfall gains in the energy sector, and to seek clarity on the support that will be available from April 2023.

We will continue to work with businesses in Scotland to press the UK Government for a range of measures—including recovery support and measures on VAT—to help to ease the pressures.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Douglas Lumsden has a brief supplementary question.

Photo of Douglas Lumsden Douglas Lumsden Conservative

The Audit Scotland report “Scotland’s financial response to Covid-19”, which was published this year, stated that 100 per cent of the £4.5 billion of Barnett consequentials relating to business support was allocated. However, how much of that £4.5 billion was allocated to funds but not spent? Is that money now available to help businesses that are struggling now?

Photo of Tom Arthur Tom Arthur Scottish National Party

We have committed all Covid consequentials for business support that we received during the pandemic to support businesses. I missed some of the detail of the member’s questions, but I am happy to consult the

Official Report and to get back to him in writing if I missed anything.