Stirling MP Alyn Smith has urged the UK Chancellor to use his upcoming fiscal statement to set out targeted support for Scotland and the UK’s tourism industry – one of the hardest hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A growing body of figures across the political and business spectrum are calling on Rishi Sunak to follow steps taken by EU countries for sectoral support to stimulate growth, safeguard thousands of jobs, and secure the industry’s long-term future.
Key asks from the SNP include:
– Converting loan schemes to grants to prevent firms taking on unmanageable debt and being pushed further into hardship,
– Extending the Job Retention Scheme & Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and clarifying access to schemes for the devolved nations for as long as is required,
– And, ending VAT for the tourism sector.
Alyn Smith MP said:
‘Stirling’s internationally renowned tourism industry has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus impact, which will have profound implications for Scotland’s wider economic recovery. At a time when businesses would be preparing for peak season, the industry itself is instead struggling to stay above water.
‘The measures brought forward by the Treasury so far have been welcome, but it’s clear that without extended, strengthened and targeted support, businesses in my constituency will be pushed over the brink – costing thousands of jobs, forcing firms to close, and delivering a body blow to our economy.
‘In his upcoming statement, the Chancellor must heed calls to protect the industry by extending the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme for as long as is necessary; converting loan schemes to grants as firms face being burdened with unmanageable debt; and providing VAT relief for the sector.
‘The UK is one of the few European countries to charge full VAT on hospitality services. Countries such as Ireland and Germany have provided a tax subsidy boosting the industry, and I call on the Chancellor to finally provide this much-needed relief.’