New £185 million package for business
More than £1.8 billion of extra funding has been allocated to tackling the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland. Within that, businesses across Scotland will benefit from a new £185 million package of targeted COVID-19 support.
The announcement follows discussions with business groups and sees a wide range of sectors benefiting, from taxi drivers and arts venues to travel agents and hospitality.
In addition, there will be additional one-off payments to hospitality businesses in January to help them deal with the traditional post-Christmas dip in demand. These will be of £2,000 or £3,000, depending on rateable value.
The package was announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, who also said she had written to the Treasury calling for Scotland to receive its share of rates relief reimbursed by supermarkets “to ensure this is spent on those areas hardest hit as part of Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19”.
Specific support detailed in today’s announcement includes:
- £15 million for the wedding sector and its supply chain, including photographers
- one-off grants totalling £15 million for mobile close contact services, such as hairdressers
- a £19 million fund and one-off grants for taxi drivers
- £5 million for travel agents
- almost £6 million for coach companies and tour operators
- £1.5 million for visitor attractions
Today I am pleased to confirm an allocation of £185 million for new and additional business support in the new year. We have listened to businesses and this assistance will be provided on a sector-by-sector basis, targeted at those who need it most.
We are developing grant schemes for hospitality, for the events sector, live music and cultural venues, for the arts, indoor football centres and for the food and drink sector, including £1.8 million for brewers.
We will give £1.5 million to travelling show people ineligible for other support, while a new £19 million fund, plus a one-off grant, will help taxi drivers.
I can also announce that further support of £60 million will be provided to the tourism sector, details of which will be developed in consultation with the industry.
I am listening to the needs of business and we will continue to review and refine our COVID-19 support offer within the available resources.
Money for business support and vaccine programme
The wider £1.8 billion of extra funding covers areas including health, transport and business support, accounting for all but £330 million of the latest consequentials generated by UK Government spending.
The remainder will be used to meet further urgent demands relating to both COVID-19 and Brexit up to the end of March 2021.
The funding is detailed in a letter from Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee.
The latest allocations include:
- around £600 million for health and social care, wider public health initiatives and welfare support. This includes the COVID-19 vaccination programme, test and trace and the £500 bonus for health and social care workers.
- support for business and the wider economy totalling £570 million, including funding for the strategic framework, local business support packages, the newly self-employed hardship fund and local authority discretionary business funding
- an estimated £139 million of previously announced funding for government, bringing the overall support package to councils to more than £1 billion
- around £500 million to support transport services and cover pandemic-related income shortfalls within organisations such as Police Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
The latest COVID-19 consequentials bring the total received by the Scottish Government to £8.2 billion.