Self-catering accommodation will now be eligible for the Covid-19 Grant Funding Scheme launched earlier this week provided that the property is their primary source of earnings was let for 140 days or more in the last financial year.

SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Alasdair Allan welcomed the announcement yesterday (March 27) of grant support for the self-catering industry.

The islands MSP had written to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes regarding the exclusion of the sector from the Covid-19 Grant Funding Scheme launched earlier this week.

Alasdair Allan commented: “The non-domestic rates system is being used to distribute money to businesses as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, the problem with helping self catering businesses until now has been that ‘self-catering’ as a category also includes empty, second homes that may not be actively trading or working. There is a balance to be struck and we need to ensure that support goes to those businesses who need it the most.

“Over the last week, I have been contacted by many self-catering businesses in the islands who are facing perilous financial situations as a result of the blanket cancellations brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

“I welcome today’s announcement from the Scottish Government and I hope this will help support many of the self-catering businesses we have in the islands over what will be an extremely difficult and challenging time for us all. I do not want to pretend it will compensate all businesses for all losses, but I believe it is a very useful step forward.”