UKHospitality in Scotland has called on the Scottish government to provide additional support to the country’s hospitality industry, following additional Covid-19 restrictions which are set to affect businesses.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday (23 September) that bars and restaurants must close by 10pm by 25 September and table service must continue to be a requirement in all hospitality establishments.
The trade body is requesting an additional package of target support for the industry to prevent further job losses and business closures.
Willie Macleod, UKHospitality’s executive director in Scotland, said: “These restrictions are a further, potentially fatal, blow for many hospitality businesses. In isolation, they may appear moderate, but the cumulative effect is going to be hugely damaging. Consumer confidence is going to take another hit and we cannot hope to recover while confidence remains low.
“Scottish government encouragement for working from home is going to hit city centre hospitality very hard. These businesses have already lagged behind as office workers and tourists have stayed away and they are going to take another battering.”
He added: “Employment support must be extended. The furlough scheme is already winding down and it comes to a complete halt at the end of October. Unless it is extended for our sector, businesses are inevitably going to have to make staff redundant. We are looking at a steady stream of job losses for six months, otherwise.
“We also must have longer-term support to enable businesses to rebuild in 2021. The VAT cut for the sector must be extended as must the business rates holiday. We also need a rent-debt settlement package, otherwise whole businesses are going to go under with widespread redundancies.”