'Grossly unfair' to leave Airbnb operators and other self-caterers out of Covid-19 funding

Representatives for the self-catering sector in Scotland have labelled a decision to exclude self-caterers and other accommodation providers from top-up grants as “grossly unfair”.

The Association of Scottish Self-Caterers has said it is 'grossly unfair' to exclude the sector from grants
The Association of Scottish Self-Caterers has said it is 'grossly unfair' to exclude the sector from grants

It follows a decision from the Scottish Government to exclude self-caterers, B&Bs, guesthouses, campsites and caravan parks from the £3.3m of additional funding announced by Kate Forbes on January 11.

It means Airbnb hosts and other self-caterers will be ineligible for the support which would be either £6,000 or £25,000 depending on the business rates being paid.

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said the decision would lead to many in the sector losing their livelihoods.

She said: “The decision to leave Scotland’s self-caterers out of this crucial round of additional funding is grossly unfair and must be corrected immediately – or many of us will simply lose our livelihoods.

“If the Finance Minister is intent on sticking by this poor decision, it is now imperative that she explain in detail what reasoning, if any at all, lies behind it.

“How can she seriously justify cherry-picking one section of the tourism and hospitality sector over another when it comes to funding eligibility?

“Trust in the Scottish Government within our sector has all but evaporated as this pattern of contempt and neglect seems set to continue.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that they do not understand our sector and are making no attempt to try and understand our sector.

“Our members have contributed so much, creating memory-making holidays for millions of visitors as well as millions of pounds for the Scottish economy, so to be continually and capriciously let down by the thoughtlessness pouring out from St Andrew’s House is really more than many of us can stomach.”

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie backed the ASSC’s call for the funding to be extended.

He said: “The SNP Government are in danger of undermining the good work it did last year supporting businesses.

“First the taxi scheme was found to have deep flaws and now it’s clear the support for self-caterers is leaving them short.

“The government must gets this sorted before more businesses go to the wall.”

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.

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