Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called for the government to ensure that hospitality businesses hit by government advice to stay at home and avoid social contacts are supported with fiscal measures. Mr Carmichael reiterated a call for the VAT reduction on hospitality and tourism to be extended alongside more immediate support for businesses.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Leaders in the UK and Scottish governments have made it clear that people should be more careful about social interactions and reducing contacts and that is naturally having an impact on pubs, restaurants and other social spaces. The fact that this is guidance rather than a legal requirement cannot disguise the reality that businesses are taking an immediate and sustained financial hit, just as they were aiming to rebuild from the pandemic in the busy festive trading period. One estimate was that revenue for hospitality is down 40% already and we are far from the worst of the damage.
“We need to see some leadership from both our governments to protect local workers and businesses, ideally in the form of immediate financial support but also in the extension of business rates relief and the VAT reduction for hospitality, so that we can have a hope of a swift recovery. Local firms have worked hard to hang on through the pandemic – we cannot let that effort go to waste at the final hurdle.”