Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant (pictured) has welcomed the expansion of funding for B&B and guest house owners and self-catering businesses but believes the Scottish Government should “hang its head in shame” over its handling of the process.
It follows the government’s announcement that the support net has been widened, however Mrs Grant understands that there is only a seven-day window to apply for this fund.
She believes the industry has been treated terribly since the pandemic began because many businesses have been unable to claim for any support due to being unable to meet the eligibility criteria.
Mrs Grant, who is Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, has written repeatedly to The Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes and the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Fergus Ewing since March last year, raising the plight of business owners desperate for cash to survive.
Rhoda Grant said:
“I’m sure this announcement will be a welcome relief to the many business owners who have fallen through the cracks and have seen reserves dry up over the past year.
“I certainly welcome this expansion but I am concerned about the short window of opportunity businesses have to register for this.
“There’s no denying the B&B industry could have been treated far better.
“Since last year, the accommodation sector has been fighting an uphill battle with the Scottish Government over funding support.
“Grants have been available but lots of businesses have been unable to meet the eligibility criteria.
“It’s been totally unfair and businesses-owners have been left fearing for their futures.”
Mrs Grant continued:
“I hope this expansion closes those gaps and we can see the accommodation sector get the support it deserves.”
The new fund, which is called The Support for Small Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax Fund, would pay out £2000 every four weeks to the B&B industry while Level 4 restrictions are in place.