South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Affairs Spokesperson Colin Smyth has called on the Scottish Government to put a proper Covid recovery plan in place for the hospitality sector in the south of Scotland.
During Portfolio Question Time in the Scottish Parliament on 23 June, the local MSP questioned the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee about what additional support the Government will provide to the hospitality sector to mitigate against the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Speaking in Parliament, Colin Smyth said: “The support in the short term —as well as today’s announcement that hospitality premises that show Euros matches that go into extra time can open for a bit longer—will be welcomed by those businesses that receive the support, but it still excludes too many others.
“Even the lifting of restrictions on 9 August will not be enough for many small hospitality businesses.
“Does the minister accept that we need a proper recovery plan for small businesses—including hospitality businesses—that covers long-term support and reform of business rates, which penalise hospitality, to help to get those local firms back on their feet?”
Speaking after the question session, Colin Smyth continued: “This pandemic has been going on for nearly 18 months and with lockdowns and restrictions, small businesses in my constituency have really suffered.
“Rural areas rely heavily on hospitality and businesses across the south of Scotland have borne the brunt of Covid. The effects of the pandemic will continue for months and probably years to come and the Scottish Government must have a long term plan in place for small businesses to ensure they survive in future.”