Ayrshire Taxi Drivers and Hospitality Funding Issues Raised in Virtual Scottish Parliament


Funding to support Ayrshire taxi drivers and those in the hospitality supply chain has been in the spotlight in the Scottish Parliament.

South Scotland Tory MP Sharon Dowey raised concerns in a virtual session and asked about those who have been indirectly affected by the government restrictions.

She said: “Although our pubs, nightclubs and hotels need support due to the direct effects of government restrictions, there are many other businesses, such as taxi drivers and those in the hotel supply chain, are also losing income at what should be their busiest times. of the year.

“I have been contacted by local small businesses who feel they have been put into an informal lockdown as people do what is requested by the government and stay at home.

“Will the Prime Minister reassure me that all businesses that have been affected by the restrictions will be able to access government grants?”

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon answered Ms Dowey’s question and said: ‘Of the £ 375million, just over £ 200million has already been allocated. This covers hospitality, entertainment, events and some of the businesses in the supply chain that are affected by the advice we have given and some of the other protections in place.

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“With respect to the rest of this funding, as I said, we are in consultation with different sectors – including, for example, the taxi industry – to make sure that the parts of the economy that don’t are only indirectly affected by the protections are included. “

South Scotland Labor MSP Colin Smyth then commented on the Prime Minister’s latest statement on Covid-19 and said the government needed to make faster decisions to protect businesses in Ayrshire and those in the hotel industry.

He said: “Businesses, especially the hospitality industry, are hit hard by restrictions on what would normally have been the busiest time of the year, so we need much faster decisions from the government on how additional funding will be channeled to these companies, as well as rethinking the decision to exclude sectors from support such as taxi drivers.

Mr Smyth also echoed the concerns of Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar over the impact of self-isolation on staffing levels.

Mr Smyth added: ‘It is disappointing that the Scottish Government has yet to decide whether everyone in a household really needs to self-isolate if they continue to test negative and if it is time to reduce the period of self-isolation to seven or five days. from 10, which many other countries have done.

Ms Sturgeon said finding the balance on self-isolation was not easy, adding that releasing people in their 40s when they might still be infectious would relieve some of the pressures on the economy – but that relief would be short lived due to the risk of spreading the virus.

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