SCOTLAND’S self-catering businesses have slammed the Scottish Government’s decision to exclude them from its latest round of COVID-19 support.
The latest snub from the government comes as some hotels and hostels have become eligible for business support funding, while self-caterers, as well as guest houses and B&Bs, have once again been left adrift.
The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers have strongly criticised the decision and have accused Nicola Sturgeon’s government of failing to live up to its claim that it is “supporting the tourism sector.”
Self-caterers have been among the businesses hardest hit by the pandemic and also face the damaging prospect of working under the Scottish Government’s cumbersome licensing scheme, restrictive planning control areas, and the possibility of a tourism levy in the future.
According to an ASSC survey, over 70 percent of self-caterers reported a negative impact on their business caused by Omicron restrictions announced in early December, with more than 65 percent experiencing financial losses as a result. 73 percent of larger self-catering properties have been directly impacted by the advice to limit households to three.
Moreover, many operators are now facing real questions about the viability of their businesses, with 61 percent saying that they are concerned about the future.
The ASSC has reiterated its calls for the Scottish Government to adequately address the concerns of self-caterers, which are shared by many other small businesses in Scottish tourism and others, and to prioritise a sustainable recovery.
Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:
“Excluding self-catering businesses from this latest round of financial support is both deeply hurtful to many small businesses who fear for their future and demonstrates the paucity of the government’s commitment to ‘supporting the tourism sector’ in Scotland.
“Self-caterers have been repeatedly ignored and fobbed off by this government and this latest snub hits all the harder given the other restrictive proposals, like licensing, control areas, and a tourism levy, that are currently in the works.
“The ASSC is once again calling on the Scottish Government to take action, quickly and decisively, or run the risk of thousands of small businesses, vital to the health of Scotland’s tourism industry, vanishing altogether.”