Comhairle Leader, Roddie Mackay, has written to Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, regarding the current lack of funding support for the Self-Catering Industry in the recently announced support packages.
Mr Mackay, said: “I believe that whatever direct damage COVID-19 causes to health and well-being, there may well be much longer and embedded effects from the impact on communities from the loss of business, industry and jobs. Therefore, it is vital that we do what we can to maintain key sectors so that they can bounce back quickly when this crisis is over.”
He added that “Those who run self-catering and B&B businesses throughout the islands are a really significant contributor to the local economy, as I am sure they are in Ms Forbes own constituency, and they are deserving of similar levels of support to that on offer to retail and hospitality”.
“I know that the First Minister, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and indeed Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, all value and understand the hugely important role of this sector in rural Scotland and particularly in the Highlands and Islands. I am sure that they will make every effort to support them in conjunction with the UK Government grants scheme. Whilst I do understand why they would seek to exclude empty holiday homes from this scheme, I think that asking for evidence of trading, such as submitting accounts to the Inland Revue and having a tax reference number, will sort that.”