Tuesday 15 December 2020

Financial Support for Scottish Operators Announced

Businesses across Scotland including coach operators, will benefit from a new £185 million package of targeted coronavirus (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 Scottish 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”.

Ms Forbes said:

“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.”

Specific support detailed in today’s announcement includes:

Almost £6 million for coach companies and tour operators
£19 million fund and one-off grants for taxi drivers

£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

£5 million for travel agents

£1.5 million for visitor attractions

So far, no financial help has been offered to English or Welsh coach operators. However, the Northern Ireland Executive confirmed in October that it is to provide grants to coach and private bus operators in the country, based on fleet size.

Grants will be paid at the rate of: £8,000 for the first vehicle and £4,450 for each additional vehicle, with a cap of £100,000 per eligible operator.