Scottish businesses given support

The business rates cut will last another three months for Scotland's restaurants, as finance secretary Kate Forbes revealed its budget for 2021-2022.

Forbes confirmed that there will be an extension of 100% business rates relief for hospitality into the first three months of the new financial year.

There was also confirmation of the payment of temporary closure and business restriction grants in February, regardless of any change in the restriction levels applied by the Scottish government. The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund will also be doubled.

UKHospitality Scotland has welcomed steps announced in the budget, but has also called on the chancellor to continue to provide ongoing financial support to the Scottish government to ensure hospitality businesses survive and can start to rebuild in 2021.

The trade body says that an extension to the VAT cut for a further year is also crucial for a Scottish hospitality revival.

Calling on the chancellor 

“The Scottish budget has brought some welcome, albeit short-term, relief for the hospitality sector," says UKHospitality Scotland executive director Willie Macleod. "It provides a platform upon which we can build if we get the correct support from the chancellor.

“The extension of the rates relief will give operators some stability, but it is vital that the relief is extended for the entire 2021/22 financial year. Funding must be delivered to the devolved administrations to allow this to happen as the finance secretary indicated.

“The payment of grants for temporary closure and restrictions in February, regardless of changes in the level of restriction, is a pragmatic step and will bring much-needed support. Doubling the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund will also provide a degree of breathing-room at what is still a very difficult time for hospitality.

“The steps outlined in the Scottish budget give a platform upon which to build. The chancellor now needs to recognise that ongoing support is still needed; both for the extension of the Strategic Framework Business Fund and to enable businesses to survive the crisis before trading their way back to growth. Extending the VAT cut for another year is a must."