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A fund of £375 million will help businesses hit by the latest coronavirus restrictions over the next three weeks, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
It includes an additional £175 million as a result of the Treasury’s announcement on Sunday, the First Minister said.
However a group representing hospitality said more money will be needed to meet the shortfall expected in coming weeks, while the Scottish Conservatives said the grants should be delivered before the new year.
The hospitality sector will return to a table service-only rule from December 27.
Groups of customers will need to be kept at least a metre apart, while the advice is that no more than three households should meet at one time.
During her coronavirus update in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said the Scottish Government could contribute £200 million for business support
She said: “Taken together, this adds up to a fund of £375 million that will help support business for the unavoidable impacts of our decisions over the next three weeks.
“This is significantly more, proportionately, than the Chancellor has announced for the UK as a whole.”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross asked the First Minister if businesses would receive money before Christmas.
He said: “It’s unacceptable that small businesses may be left waiting until the new year to get this vital funding that could be the difference between them surviving or not.
“It’s absolutely crucial that we see the Scottish and UK governments working together constructively, fully focused on Omicron
“Instead, sadly, over the last week we’ve seen an unnecessary funding row that is a distraction to the task at hand.”
Ms Sturgeon said the dispute her Government had with the UK Government over Covid money showed the Barnett formula was “not fit for purpose”.
Grants would be delivered to businesses “as quickly as possible”, she said.
Hospitality is likely to lose around £1 billion
She welcomed the Treasury’s latest announcement but insisted the earlier tranche of money had already been budgeted for.
Leon Thompson, executive director of UK Hospitality in Scotland, said: “Hospitality is likely to lose around £1 billion in the course of December, as public heath messaging has hammered trade and threatened jobs and livelihoods.
“Today’s announcement of further restrictions across hospitality businesses will, for many, be the final straw as owners and operators weigh up whether it will be worth remaining open beyond Christmas.
“The financial package is too little and, given no money will reach businesses until some point in January, it will come too late for many businesses.
“UK Hospitality Scotland will continue to press the Scottish Government to get support to businesses quickly.
“We will also argue that the restrictions announced today should not be in place for more than the three weeks stated.”