Yesterday (Tuesday 21 December), Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a £100m support package for businesses facing cancelled bookings in the run-up to Christmas that will see £66m go to eligible hospitality businesses and £8m paid out to food and drink supply chain businesses, including wholesalers.
She said the support would be given through a one-off grant scheme called ‘December and January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality’, which will give £4,500 for premises that have a rateable value of up to and including £51,000, or £6,800 for premises have a rateable value of £51,001 or above. Although applications can be made up to 31 January 2022, there was no indication of how quickly businesses would receive the grant.
Table service rule
Additionally, restrictions in hospitality venues were also announced that for a three-week period from 27 December, including a return to table service-only for sites serving alcohol, one-metre distancing between groups and there should be no more than three households represented in any group.
Responding to the First Minister’s announcements, a SBPA spokesperson said: “This short-term package of support from the First Minister is welcome at this extremely challenging time for pubs and brewers. It will be a vital lifeline for many and will help compensate businesses for the dramatically reduced trade already being experienced in the run-up to Christmas.”
The spokesperson continued: “The additional restrictions, however, will have further significant impact on trade for pubs and brewers particularly over the new year period, which is crucial for trade, adding to the challenges already being faced at this extremely difficult time.
“It is critical that a timeline is in place for the removal of these restrictions enabling the sector to navigate the challenges. While these additional restrictions remain in place, additional financial support must be kept under review, as many pubs will otherwise not make it through the winter.”