Scottish Government defend business support following criticism from Royal Mile traders
The Scottish Government has defended its support for businesses following criticism from Royal Mile traders who have felt ‘left to rot’ without special assistance.
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The group of traders has asked to meet with representatives from Edinburgh City Council and the government to make a plea and to let their voices be heard to no avail.
In an open letter from traders they described the Royal Mile as ‘undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of Scottish tourism’ but added that it is now a shadow of its former self and that urgent assistance is required to save the livelihoods of Scots who have put their hearts and souls into businesses that, on the Royal Mile alone, employs thousands of people whose jobs are imminently at risk.
The traders wrote: “We as a group are fully aware that City of Edinburgh Council are also in a difficult financial position and appeal to them also to reach out to the Scottish Government and present a case for assistance for Royal Mile Traders who find themselves in a unique difficulty of losing the lifeblood of international tourists.
“It seems our elected representatives abandoned us in our time of need. It will be some time before our industry returns to normal and government support is urgently needed and a plan for future support agreed. The Scottish government continually finds millions of pounds to support businesses and industries that have no hope of survival whilst the highly successful tourist retail sector is left to rot.”
The Scottish government trade minister, Ivan McKee said: “The finance secretary announced up to £12 million additional funding for the 14 local authorities that are remaining in Level two, including City of Edinburgh Council, should restrictions continue to the end of June and payments will be processed on a weekly basis.
“We also increased the Local Authority Discretionary Fund from £30 million to £120 million to ensure that local authorities can direct funding to specific groups or sectors in their local economies which are in most in need of additional support.
“Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have benefited from £3.6 billion in business support, more than a third of total Covid funding.
“We extended 100 per cent non-domestic rates retail, hospitality and leisure relief for all of 2021-22.”