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Fergus Ewing announces finer detail of £7m grant scheme for tourism businesses – Evening Express

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Details of cash help for larger self-catering properties and B&Bs paying council tax have been confirmed by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing.

The £7 million Large Self-Catering Grant and Exclusive Use Grant scheme was announced as part of the £104m tourism and hospitality package in December.

Eligible self–catering businesses will be able to apply for one-off grant support of £2,000. Eligible exclusive use premises will be able to apply for £10,000 in grant support.

All self-catering properties, B&Bs and guest houses that are eligible at Level 4 for business rates relief can now apply to the Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF), 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.

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Some larger self-catering properties have been uniquely impacted, initially by the rule restricting the number of guests to six from two households, and then by the single household rule.

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing

Mr Ewing confirmed that support equivalent to the SFBF will also now be available to B&Bs which do not pay business rates but pay council tax. This support will be paid by local authorities.

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He added: “It is clear that some larger self-catering properties have been uniquely impacted, initially by the rule restricting the number of guests to six from two households, and then by the single household rule.

“I am pleased to confirm the details of this extra support for self-catering businesses.

“This will be targeted directly where it is needed most, to those self-catering businesses that have been severely impacted by the restriction on household numbers.

“All self-catering and other accommodation providers are already in scope for regular payments from the SFBF and I would encourage business owners to make sure they have registered with their local authority for this support.”

‘Darkest period’

Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) chief executive Marc Crothall said: “Today’s update regarding the funds which were announced by the cabinet secretary on December 21, providing firm dates as to when applications can be submitted by various sectors within Scotland’s tourism industry is hugely welcomed and provides the timeline that businesses have been urgently seeking.

“Representatives of the industry have also been very appreciative of the fact that they have been given the opportunity to work with representatives of the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and the enterprise agencies to shape the criteria of the various funding schemes to ensure that this support reaches the businesses who need it most at what is undoubtedly the darkest period our industry has ever experienced.

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“The STA will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and industry over the coming weeks to ensure that all businesses which are eligible to access support are doing so as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

“We will continue to make direct representation to ministers in both Scottish and UK governments for what is without question, a need for a further package of continued financial support and other forms of fiscal relief.”

Mr Crothall added: “We will also continue to make the point that support will be required until such time the tier restrictions are relaxed sufficiently to allow businesses to trade to a level that they can meet their overheads and remain solvent.”

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