The chancellor’s new Jobs Support Scheme will fail to prevent mass redundancies in the Scottish tourism sector.
Rishi Sunak’s replacement for the government furlough scheme will see the state top up the pay of workers in “viable jobs”, with staff getting up to 77% of their normal salaries for six months from November 1.
VAT for the hospitality and tourism sector will also remain at 5% until March 31.
But the Scottish Tourism Alliance said there was not enough work.
Chief executive Marc Crothall told the BBC: “Employers cannot afford to pay staff when there is no work, so we can still expect to see mass redundancies.”
The new measures fell “some way short” of what was urgently needed to rescue Scotland’s tourism industry from “a perilous situation”.
He said: “The Jobs Support Scheme will only help businesses which have sufficient demand to pay these minimum hours; the majority of tourism businesses simply will not be able to do so as their businesses are either closed due to legislation or restrictions.
“This continues to create pressure on the payroll at a time when consumer confidence and demand for the services which the tourism sector offers is at an all-time low, coupled with the increased restrictions in place.”
Crothall said the extension of the current rate of VAT at 5% would have a marginal effect on the industry, given that so many businesses would be forced to make redundancies and close for good.
“The reality we must all face now is that within the coming days and weeks businesses owners will lose their livelihoods, thousands will lose their income and the effects on the economy and people’s lives will be nothing short of devastating,” he said.
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