The Scottish B&B Association has, throughout the Covid crisis, been pressing the Scottish Government on behalf of our members for financial support.
Successive recent Government announcements have caused confusion, and we have asked for clarification so we can give you the full picture.
Government officials have just given us the statement below:
We hope the following information will help provide clarity around some of the funding issues that your sector is currently raising, and the rationale behind the way support has been targeted.
Support for B&Bs and self-catering businesses
We are doing everything we can with the limited powers available to us to support the tourism sector and accommodation providers in particular. Since the start of the crisis we have provided almost £3 billion to assist businesses of all kinds across Scotland, including the self-catering and B&B sector.
We have also provided 100% non-domestic rates relief for holiday accommodation providers, amongst other businesses. Previous targeted support for the B&B sector included a fund of up to £3 million to support those B&Bs with no business bank account (now closed).
All self-catering properties, B&Bs and guest houses that are on the NDR roll, are eligible to apply for Level 4 support from the Strategic Framework Business Fund, which provides grants for businesses required to close by law as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. In most cases this will be payments of £2,000 every four weeks (£2,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000. £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above).
Support equivalent to the Strategic Framework Business Fund will also now be available to B&Bs which do not pay Non Domestic Rates but pay council tax. This support will be paid by local authorities. Support packages have been designed in response to business needs and have been agreed with sector representatives. Details of how businesses can access the support will be published shortly.
Larger self-catering premises (accommodating 7+) and exclusive use properties will also benefit from an additional £7 million fund to mitigate against the impact of the single household restrictions.
This is in addition to the previous targeted VS led Coronavirus support scheme for self-catering businesses fundwhich allocated £1.5 m (now closed) to self-catering businesses in Scotland with a rateable value of up to £50,999 (and paid NDR) who had not received any funding from any other Scottish Government Scheme following COVID-19.
Hospitality, retail and leisure top-up fund
The hospitality top-up fund is targeted at restaurants, bars, pubs, licensed social and sports clubs, cafes and hotels. Scottish Government resources are limited and this means we must take targeted action. We continue to call on the UK Government to transfer the fiscal levers required to enable us to respond fully to the needs of Scottish businesses.
B&Bs and self-catering properties are not, and never have been, in scope for the retail and hospitality top up grants. The hospitality top up grants are targeted at restaurants, pubs, bars, licensed sports and social clubs and hotels as they tend to have more employees and higher fixed costs which isn’t entirely covered by furlough.
Business support cannot, and is not intended to, make up for all losses. Funding is allocated to provide essential lifeline assistance and support businesses through to recovery. We expect the self-catering and B&B sector to recover strongly in due course, and recovery in this sector may more rapid that that seen in other in other sectors.
Island Businesses support
From January, Islands businesses in Level 3 are also eligible for support to the equivalent of Level 4 Strategic Framework Business Fund. This is in recognition that with the near nationwide lockdown and travel restrictions Islands businesses will require support. The grants available are based on the same terms and conditions as businesses on the mainland in level 4 and are not more generous. The Strategic Framework Business Fund offers businesses that are required to close at level 4 a temporary closure grant for every four weeks of restrictions depending on the size of business: £2,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000. £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above.
Scottish Government approach
Each of the UK nations are choosing to take a different approach as suits their unique circumstances. In addition to the regular Strategic Business Fund support we have developed tailored support to meet the need of tourism businesses, in development with sector leads. We have also established a £30 million local authority discretionary fund, which is empowering local authorities to direct funding to specific groups or sectors within their areas, including supply chain businesses.
We recognise that this is an extremely difficult time for businesses of all kinds across Scotland. None of the decisions taken have been done so lightly. We will continue to review the support that is in place and will keep making the case to the UK Government for more support for the whole economy right across the UK.
More information available at Support for larger self-catering properties and B&Bs - News | VisitScotland.org