£40m to help Scots hospitality industry

The Scottish Government has revealed details of a £40 million fund to help businesses affected by temporary restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will provide one-off grants of up to £3,000, depending on rateable value, to bars, restaurants and other businesses required to close by regulations.

A hardship fund with grants of up to £1,500 will support some businesses that remain open but are “directly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close from tonight.”

Further, up to £9 million of funding “will help with the costs of re-furloughing staff by supporting the 20% salary contribution required by the UK Government.”

A discretionary fund of up to £11 million will help businesses that need support but don’t fall into the categories.

This will, for example, “support soft play centres that have been unable to re-open this month.”

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The temporary restrictions announced by the First Minister are absolutely essential if we are to prevent a return to the dangerous level of infections that we experienced earlier this year.

“It is a difficult balance and we do not underestimate the challenge that these new measures present for businesses – particularly those in the hospitality sector.

“We have developed a funding plan which will help to protect jobs over the coming fortnight and I encourage business owners to apply for support. 

“We are also committed to helping businesses meet their contribution to furlough costs, where staff have to be re-furloughed. 

“We have increased the size of the grant available and are urgently identifying a mechanism to deliver additional support on top of that.

“While I welcome the UK Government’s plans to adapt the job retention scheme and the associated consequential funding, we still require clarity on what the Chancellor’s announcement will mean for Scotland.

“This situation further underlines the need for us to have the financial flexibility which would help us to rebuild our economy.”

Grants will be distributed by local authorities.

Up to £2,000 will be payable to businesses with a rateable value of up to £51,000 that are required to close by law, for those with a rateable value of £51,001 or above the grant will be £3,000.

Information for businesses is available at findbusinesssupport.gov.scot