New Covid-related restrictions could have a severely damaging impact on businesses within Scotland’s hospitality sector, it has been claimed.
Concerns are widespread that curfews at pubs and restaurants, along with other measures aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus, will limit trade for hospitality businesses and could soon see many of them forced to close entirely.
As a result, the trade body UK Hospitality is calling on the government in Scotland to provide a package of targeted support that helps employers in the sector survive what look set to be an exceptionally tough few months at least.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday September 22nd that pubs and restaurants will need to close and be emptied of patrons by 10pm every evening.
UK Hospitality is also worried by the first minister’s suggestion that people should work from home where they can because it will see city centre economies “hit very hard”.
“Although Scottish government will review the further restrictions announced today in three weeks’ time, it is disheartening that they are potentially in place for the medium term and will affect business trading over the mid-term break and as the festive period approaches,” said UK Hospitality’s executive director in Scotland Willie Macleod.
“Lots of businesses will not survive this and we are going to see more and more people lose their jobs unless we have the support to counterbalance these restrictions.”
From UK Hospitality’s perspective, the governments in Edinburgh and London should be ready to swiftly announce “an exhaustive package of financial support” for businesses in its industry to protect them and the jobs they provide.
“The furlough scheme is already winding down and it comes to a complete halt at the end of October,” said Mr Macleod.
“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.”
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As many as 12 million adults across the UK were struggling with debt and battling to keep pace with demands on their finances in July this year, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The Scottish government has said it will be providing local authorities across the country with an extra £30 million to help them tackle financial insecurity in their areas.
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