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Carmichael meets with Scottish Tourism Alliance

Alistair Carmichael MP

Northern Isles MP, Alistair Carmichael, has this week met with the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) to discuss a stronger economic response to the challenges faced by the hospitality industry, as the pandemic continues.

The STA shared details of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers survey, last week, which revealed that more than £70 million could be lost within the sector before Christmas, following recent announcements around single households. It also highlighted concerns that the government may not make any further efforts to support the sector despite the impact of new restrictions in recent weeks.

Mr Carmichael said: “I was glad to meet leaders from the Scottish Tourism Alliance to discuss how we can develop a comprehensive response to these latest challenges. Reports that businesses will lose more than £70 million between now and Christmas due to the new restrictions show that we are still not doing enough to support hospitality.

“It is concerning that some hospitality employers in the Scottish islands are already announcing significant redundancies this week. This has to be treated as a canary in the coal mine for the rural and island economy. If good quality, previously reliable jobs are being cut then it suggests something deeply wrong with the government’s approach, even after the latest fiscal measures announced. Waves of job losses will be hard to recover from and risk having an outsized impact on rural communities.

“Now more than ever we need local, devolved and UK officials to work together rather than competing. I will be reaching out to all parties to develop proposals and to get hospitality back on the government’s agenda. If we want to maintain the success of Scottish tourism of recent years then we need to be prepared to invest now.”