Murdo Fraser MSP calls on SNP Government to 'step up' and release funds for hospitality sector

Murdo Fraser MSP has called on the SNP Government to “step up and deliver” much-needed funds to help the hospitality sector.

The Scottish Conservative politician told Holyrood that it is high time that the SNP Government need to stop sitting on money provided by the UK Government to Scotland and start paying out to “those in need.”

Commenting, Mr Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, said: “As at the start of last month, additional funding by the UK Government was a guaranteed £6.5 billion. And over the last few weeks, we have seen additional funding provided of £1.7 billion.

“That means there is currently hundreds of millions unallocated within the SNP Government’s coffers – money which is available to help the hospitality sector. They need to stop sitting on this money and start paying out to those in need, otherwise a health crisis is going to become a jobs catastrophe.

“The announcement earlier this week that Perth and Kinross and Fife will move from Tier 2 to 3, with new restrictions on travel and hospitality, will make an already serious situation even more difficult.”

Mr Fraser continued: “There are two specific sectors that need assistance. The first is pubs, many of which in my area do not have outside space and do not serve food.

“And yet, pubs in places like Perth and Kinross and Fife were only able to access precisely one half of the financial support available to those in the Central Belt - £2,155 as against £4,310 for pubs in Glasgow or Edinburgh. This is an issue the SNP Government need to address to ensure a level playing field.

“The second sector of businesses which have seen little support are those involved in the wedding industry. Wedding venues have seen virtually their entire business for the year cancelled.

“I have heard of weddings which were booked for the Spring of this year being cancelled and then rebooked for the Autumn, cancelled and then rebooked again for Spring 2021, and where brides are now being contacted by venues and told that that date can’t be guaranteed.

“It is a disaster for wedding venues who are having to survive on zero income, with no certainty for the future, and the inability to take forward bookings and deposits. There is also a knock-on wider impact from the cancellation of weddings, from taxi businesses, to wedding dress suppliers, to florists, to those involved in cater hire and marquees.

“The SNP Government has more funds at its disposal – it needs to use those to support businesses on the brink of collapse. It needs to step up and start delivering.”

Mr Fraser addressed Holyrood during a debate on support for Scotland’s tourism and hospitality sectors.

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