Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie, some much-needed money Katie Forbes, who is keeping a tight grip on the money promised to hospitality businesses across Scotland.

By Bill Heaney

The note above should make the SNP Finance Secretary Katie Forbes shed tears of shame.

It was circulated to regular customers at the Counting House who weren’t there last night (Friday) for their usual few pints and a bite to eat.

Those customers who didn’t receive the e-mail were dismayed when they turned up to find the pub door padlocked and barred against them.

There was no beer at the inn. Nor space to pull up a seat and have a blether with your mates.

The Counting House in Dumbarton’s was completely deserted in a graveyard of a High Street that was locked and shuttered.

The e mail accompanying the note pictured above on social media said:

The Counting House, Dumbarton

Even with the move to Tier Three announced for West Dumbarton earlier this week, we are saddened that we have to make the announcement that we will be closed for foreseeable future.
We have looked at the viability of working with the current covid restrictions and our head office have thought long and hard about making this decision. It is not one which has been easy for anyone to process or make.
We would like to thank all our fantastic guests and team for their support and custom this past year. And we genuinely will miss seeing you all this festive season.
We will reopen in 2021 with the passion and drive to make it a fantastic year. We will be back with plans to make your visit to us one to remember.
Stay safe friends


This is just one of many such notes circulating in Scotland right now as many folk are locked out of their favourite pubs and restaurants.

The virus hasn’t gone away you know. The effects of it on business definitely haven’t gone away. And hospitality businesses in particular are swiftly running out of cash.

Finance Secretary Katie Forbes and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon are lapping up the limelight making announcements about how generous they are being helping the hospitality trade out of a hole.

But they haven’t come up with the money yet and struggling pubs and restaurants have been forced to pay off their staff and lock the door.

That’s why Scottish Labour has today (Saturday) demanded that the SNP government provides urgent financial support for businesses to stop thousands going to the wall before new funds become available in January.

Despite Katie Forbes announcing new funds for businesses last Wednesday, scores of businesses are still struggling to access support and many are at risk of going to the wall before the new funds become available in January.

In addition, the SNP has failed to come clean over just how much funding made available in the Coronavirus Resilience Fund and the Hardship Fund has actually made it to businesses.

The criteria for applying was so tight that many businesses were rejected. They could go and busk for it.

Dr Liz Cameron, of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, has labelled the SNP’s deferred support ‘cold comfort’ for businesses, and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association has labelled it a ‘Christmas cracker joke.” Not funny.

Today, Scottish Labour has demanded that the SNP delivers vital business support funds ‘without delay’, and has called on the SNP to come clean over what proportion of business support funds made available so far have actually made it into the hands of businesses.

Scottish Labour deputy leader and finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “The SNP simply cannot abandon Scotland’s businesses and the thousands of the workers that they employ to a winter of closures, unemployment and misery.

“There is no sense in deferring support when thousands of businesses are at risk of going to the wall right now, this very moment.

“Business owners and the workers they employ haven’t the luxury to move at the languid pace of the SNP – they need help now.

“The SNP must also, as a matter of urgency, make public the proportion of business support funds that have actually made it into the hands of businesses.

“There is no point grandstanding over the level of support you are offering if it is sitting, collecting dust in the Scottish government’s bank account.

“Businesses will be the dynamos of our economic recovery, but unless the SNP pull the finger out now, we will be left with a skeleton economy and spiralling unemployment. It’s time for action.”

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