MSP Raises Concerns Over Lack of Support for Self-Catering Businesses

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant (pictured), has been inundated with inquiries from self-catering businesses very concerned about their future due to the coronavirus crisis.

Most believe they are ineligible for financial help and with no income coming in and cancellations, many fear their businesses will go under.

Mrs Grant has now contacted Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, and Fiona Hyslop, Economy, Fair Work and Culture Secretary, to see what help is available for these tourism businesses, providing facilities such as self-catering cottages and apartments or glamping facilities.

“It is obvious that the constituents who have contacted me believe they are not entitled to any funding. Some have already tried to access the Scottish Government’s £10,000 small business grant and tell me they have been turned away,” said Mrs Grant.

“Although nearly all of the concerns come from those in self-catering, I have received some from bed and breakfast owners.

“One was a B&B which was just setting up.

“The constituents had invested all their money in a new business and have now lost all their first-year bookings. 

“They have no accounts for previous years to show previous income and no access to business support.

“Many booking agents and customers are demanding their deposits back, even if those deposits are non-refundable.

“This is putting extra pressure particularly on small businesses which are often operated seasonally and can be in remote and rural areas where there a shortage of other work.

“I hope that the Scottish Government does not allow these vital hospitality businesses to fall through the cracks as they are vital to the tourism sector in the Highlands and Islands.”