Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to include self-catering properties in the list of businesses eligible to apply for financial support through the Coronavirus Business Support Scheme.
Self-catering businesses were originally excluded entirely from access to grant funding of either £10,000 or £25,000 designed to assist businesses worst affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Earlier this week, Mr McArthur wrote to the Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, raising concerns about the serious financial impact that excluding self-catering properties would have on those across Orkney who rely upon this source of income and urging her to reconsider the eligibility criteria for the grant scheme.
Following the announcement, Mr McArthur commented:
“I’m pleased that the Finance Secretary agreed to look again at making support available for self-catering businesses. The original decision to exclude these businesses was unfair and likely to put many livelihoods at serious risk. It also failed to recognise the key role that self-catering businesses play as part of the tourism sector in Orkney, and across Scotland.
“Having made representations to the Finance Secretary earlier this week urging her to review the eligibility criteria for the scheme, I welcome Kate Forbes’ willingness to undertake that review. It will be important to consider the detail and establish whether it meets the needs of local businesses in Orkney, but the fund is certainly more inclusive than it was originally”.