Edinburgh restaurant has paid £1 million in taxes but doesn't qualify for help now lockdown has decimated its business
A CAPITAL restaurateur who says he has paid almost £1 million in taxes over four years but does not qualify for lockdown grants has warned he will have to make half his 34-strong workforce redundant.
Paul Brennan, of Dine Edinburgh, next to the Usher Hall, spoke out as Scotland’s chambers of commerce issued a plea on behalf of city-centre businesses whose high rateable values deny them government aid.
To qualify for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant, properties must have rateable value between £18,001 and £51,000. Dine’s rateable value is over that limit because of its central location.
But Mr Brennan said: “Almost overnight, lockdown measures emptied our business and decimated years of hard work that had been taken to build a successful restaurant in Edinburgh’s oversaturated marketplace
“Hospitality businesses with an rateable value above £51,000 generally hire more employees and contribute more into the economy through the generation and collection of taxes. In four years Dine has paid £910,952.39 into the country’s economy, yet is ineligible for any grant or financial support. Being left without any form of assistance, bankruptcy then becomes a very real prospect for many operators. We currently employ 34 team members and we are already preparing to reduce this by 50 per cent so the business can be saved.”
Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and its counterparts in Scotland’s other big cities have asked the Scottish Government to give more help to city-centre bars, restaurants and hotels.
They said: “The risk of not acting will be to further accelerate the decline of our city centres as places that our residents and tourists will choose to visit, live, do business and spend their leisure time.”
The government said: “Ministers are listening to concerns from businesses as we continue to explore how best to help and we recognise that the hospitality sector has suffered huge impact.”