BAILLIE URGES NICOLA STURGEON TO INCREASE EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR STRUGGLING BUSINESSES

 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie.

By Lucy Ashton

It’s one, long, sorry tale after the other on the radio this morning of local businesses on their last legs.

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to increase the financial aid on offer to businesses, which have been forced to close as a result of the latest COVID-19 tier four restrictions.

This comes as Nicola Sturgeon announces that all of mainland Scotland will enter a three week period of tier four restrictions from a minute past midnight on Boxing Day.

This will see all non-essential shops, as well as all tourism and hospitality businesses, forced to close their doors, with restaurants only allowed to offer a take away service.

Many hospitality and tourism businesses are struggling to afford the national insurance and pension contributions for their employees on furlough when there is no money coming in at all and might be left with no choice but to consider redundancies.

The MSP for Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Lomond has asked Nicola Sturgeon to adopt a targeted approach to support and increase the levels of funding provided in order to save jobs.

The new variant of the virus is considered to be 70% more infectious than the original COVID-19 strain, so it has been suggested that the country will remain under greater restrictions for a prolonged period in order to protect the NHS and save lives. In that context Jackie believes that support for businesses must be increased.

Jackie Baillie MSP said:  “This has been a year of constant uncertainty, stress and hardship for businesses – not least for those businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

“Businesses have endured several months of almost permanent closure and the levels of revenue that they are raising is nowhere near enough for them to cover the costs that occur from employing staff.

“The Scottish Government must recognise that this latest change in restrictions have put businesses in my community, and across Scotland, in a really difficult position, and one which many won’t survive.

“The Scottish and UK government must work together to create targeted approach to support and there must be no delays in getting money into the pockets of those businesses most in need.

“People accept that the new strain of the virus is of great concern and will play their part in following the guidelines, but if these restrictions are to be in place for a prolonged period, then businesses need more support to survive.”

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