Scotland announces £14m hotel recovery programme for hotels across Scotland.
A £14m hotel recovery programme is estimated to secure up to 3,000 jobs at Scotland’s larger hotels until the start of the summer 2021 tourism season. Eligible businesses can apply for individual grants of up to £250,000 in addition to a suite of wrap-around business support and advice.
The programme will be jointly administered by the Scottish government’s enterprise agencies and builds on the existing funding and support for tourism businesses through the creative, tourism and hospitality hardship fund and the pivotal enterprise resilience fund.
VisitScotland will also deliver £1m in grants to self-catering businesses that have not received any other Scottish government Covid-19 support. Businesses will be eligible for a one-off £10,000 grant to support them through the winter season.
Tourism secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We recognise the important contribution the hotel sector makes to tourism and the wider Scottish economy, supporting approximately 46,000 jobs across the country.
Who is this support for and what does it involve?
The core purpose of the Hotel Support Programme is to protect sustainable employment in the medium term within larger hotels in Scotland. It is highly targeted and can be used alongside other COVID-19 support schemes.
This programme offers tailored wrap-around business support from agencies including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise and VisitScotland. The agencies will work with Skills Development Scotland and local authorities where appropriate to put together an integrated and tailored support package. This package will help a targeted number of hotels invest and adapt in a way that protects locally important jobs in the medium to long term.
If your hotel is selected to take part in the programme following your expression of interest, the agencies will develop a support package in line with your individual needs. This could be made up of a mix of consultancy support, business advice and funding. Some examples of what may be included (although none are mandatory) are:
- a business review and diagnostics
- support for recruitment, training, developing job specs and upskilling
- help accessing apprenticeship programmes
- customer and market research
- help accessing loans or equity finance if appropriate
- market, process and product development
- international trade support and access to international networks
- grant funding of up to £250,000 per hotel to put towards additional costs and investment (including capital investment)
Funding can be used for a mix of operational costs and capital investment. Capital investment could include things like investing in new contactless technology and processes, upgrading accommodation or public areas to meet safety requirements or consumer behaviours, or other capital investment to help your hotel(s) adapt.
Funding will be awarded per individual hotel, while other support may be delivered per hotel or across the hotel group as appropriate. The support given will aim to help you achieve the following programme outcomes:
- protecting jobs at your hotel over the medium term – for example, by protecting the jobs of key employees until April 2021, or ensuring you can recruit new staff by April 2021. Given the uncertainties facing the sector, this timeframe may change depending on the performance of the sector and behaviour of visitors
- continuing to play a critical role in supporting the local economy and wider Scottish economy – for example, as a key employer, through use of local or national suppliers or through engagement with local businesses and communities
- a strong commitment to the priorities and principles of Scotland Outlook 2030, the national tourism strategy, including developing fair work practices and reducing carbon emissions
Is your hotel eligible?
You can apply for support for multiple hotels. If only some of your hotels meet the criteria, you can still apply for those hotels that meet the criteria. To be eligible, EACH hotel you’re applying for must:
- be based in Scotland (although your company does not need to be based in Scotland)
- have been operating since before 31 December 2019
- have a rateable value over £51,000. If you’re not sure, you can check your hotel’s rateable value on the Scottish Assessors Association website.
- employ at least 50 employees. Employee numbers should be based on your average number of individual employees (not full time equivalent) over your last full financial year, not including contractors or agency staff.
- provide jobs that are critical to the local economy and the recovery of the tourism sector. For example, through direct employment, use of local supply chains, engagement with local businesses and a commitment to quality and standards through participation in recognised quality schemes.
If you operate multiple hotels within a tight geographic area that collectively employ over 50 employees who are shared across more than one hotel unit, these hotels may still be eligible. At least one of these hotels needs to have a rateable value over £51,000.
As well as the above criteria for your hotels, your company must also meet certain eligibility criteria. If you’re part of a group, these criteria apply to the full group. Your company must:
- NOT have reached the maximum State Aid allowance. You’ll find more information about this under ‘Important information’
- NOT be based in a tax haven. This means your company cannot be incorporated or otherwise based in a tax haven, and, if part of a group, none of the group’s subsidiaries can be based in a tax haven. You can find a full list of tax havens using the EU list of third country jurisdictions for tax purposes. You can read more about this criterion in Schedule 4 Part 12 of the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020.
Meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee that you’ll receive funding. Once you’ve submitted an expression of interest, assessors will verify the details you’ve provided and conduct a thorough appraisal process. When prioritising who will take part in the programme, the main objective is safeguarding and maximising employment in regional economies. They’ll also take into account:
- proportionate impact of employment levels in fragile communities
- potential to achieve other benefits such as net zero carbon emissions or fair work commitments
- geographical spread of support
- level of need – larger chains may have access to group funds that franchises or independent hotels may not
Due to the scale of the challenge facing the hotel sector, when they are looking at potential results from the support requested, they will recognise different styles of operations. They understand that realistic aspirations of future employment levels, particularly over the early parts of the season next year, are likely to vary for full service city hotels, limited service hotels and rural hotels. This will be discussed with applicants who make it through to the second stage of the assessment process.
What does this cost?
It’s free to apply for this programme. Any funding awarded will be offered as a grant that you don’t need to repay. Any other support included within your package will be free – however, to achieve the outcomes set out by the programme, you may be expected to make investments into your hotel.
Who can apply?
This support programme is for larger hotels in Scotland (as defined by the eligibility criteria) that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
How long does this take?
We’re accepting expressions of interest until 5pm on 9 September 2020.
This is not a first come first served process, all expressions of interest will be assessed after 9 September 2020.
Funding and other support will be delivered to successful companies on an ongoing basis from October 2020 until March 2021. We’ve outlined the full timeline for this programme below.
- Step 1 – submit an expression of interest. August 2020 – September 2020.
If you’re interested in this programme and are confident that your company and the hotels you’re applying for meet ALL of the eligibility criteria, you can submit an expression of interest.
- Step 2 – eligibility checks and confirmation. September 2020.
The appropriate agency will conduct some checks to make sure you meet our criteria and will be in touch to confirm whether or not you can proceed to the next step.
- Step 3 – appraisal and due diligence. September 2020 – October 2020.
The agency will work with your company to gather evidence to appraise your application and conduct any required due diligence.
- Step 4 – design a bespoke package. September 2020 – October 2020.
The agency will work with other partners to design a bespoke package of support to help you meet the programme outcomes.
- Step 5 – offer, award and delivery of support programme. October 2020 – March 2021.
The agency will make a formal offer. They’ll aim to tell you as soon as possible what support you’ll be receiving (including the amount of grant funding) and when it will be delivered. Funding and other support may be delivered over a set of milestones in line with your individual hotel needs.
REGISTER YOUR INTEREST NOW
Click here to register your interest