Lovely Loch Lomondside needs special assistance in wake of virus catastrophe.

By Democrat reporter

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Lomond, has called on the Scottish Government to provide swift and robust support for the Scottish tourism industry in the wake of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Numerous business owners have contacted the MSP, including those engaged in providing tourism opportunities around Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. 

Within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park tourism is the number one industry with an annual value of over £430 million and many thousands of jobs directly or indirectly dependent on the economic well-being of this sector. For businesses in this area, the threat of Coronavirus is already having a severe impact, with the scale of daily cancellations growing significantly in the past week and the indications are that this is likely to get worse over the coming weeks and months.

The scale of cancellations, and likely future cancellations, is beginning to have a major impact on income generation and the cash flow of many tourism businesses throughout the National Park. The main concern expressed by many was the ability to pay existing staff wages linked to surviving what is going to be a very difficult trading period.

Jackie Baillie MSP said: “Businesses within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park are really feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic due to significantly reduced tourist numbers in the area.

“Not only is there a fear as to the future success and viability of these businesses, but there is an immediate concern about how businesses with a reduced revenue will be able to continue to pay staff wages, rent and other costs that come with running a business.

“The Scottish Government’s initial package is welcome but it is clear from comments made to me by the tourism industry that this is not enough to support employers and employees to properly prepare themselves for the weeks and months to come.”

The Scottish Government announced measures for business are:

  • An 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
  • An £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19
  • A 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
  • A fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020

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