Three new funds to support businesses uniquely affected by the pandemic — including breweries — will launch in Scotland this week.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, and James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers

From today, local authorities will start to approach brewers, travel agents, and indoor football centres, inviting them to claim grants of £10,000 or £25,000. A higher payment of £30,000 will be available to the largest brewers.

Councils will brief around 400 eligible businesses on their potential entitlement and ask them to provide supporting information and bank account details. Owners do not need to apply, or contact the local authority.

Finance secretary, Kate Forbes, said: “We started 2021 in a way none of us envisaged nor wanted, with additional measures in place to limit the spread of the new strain of covid19, protect our NHS, and save lives.

“These funds recognise the unprecedented challenges that brewers, travel agents, and indoor football centres have experienced since March as a result of necessary restrictions.

“We are acutely aware that this support can never compensate for the full impact on business, but we must work within the resources that are available to us, and we continue to respond to the evolving economic challenges arising from the pandemic.”

Industry reaction

James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said: “Beleaguered small breweries have been some of the hardest hit by the covid pandemic and seen their sales drain away with the closure of pubs.

“In these tough times it is hugely welcome that the Scottish government has listened to our concerns and worked with SIBA to develop a new funding scheme specifically for small breweries in Scotland.
 
“For the first time in this crisis there is now targeted support for small breweries. We hope that the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the devolved governments in Wales and Northern Ireland now replicate this announcement to provide support to every small independent brewery in the land.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: “This announcement today is much welcomed by Scotland’s brewers who have been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic, and it’s encouraging that government are listening to our concerns and those of our members. The closure of pubs and other hospitality venues for large parts of last year and stretching into this year has been devastating to the sector.

“This Scottish government support package, whilst not replacing lost income, will help provide a bridge to the other side of the pandemic for many of our fantastic, world-leading producers, who have been responsible for a brewing renaissance in Scotland over the last decade. It is recognition of the important contribution Scottish brewers make to the economy, jobs and culture. 

“Scotland’s brewers will now be looking towards the chancellor’s Budget in March, where a reduction to beer duty and extension of the cut in VAT to include alcohol is vital to their continued operation. We hope that the UK government also looks to replicate the support given to Scotland’s brewers to those across the rest of the UK.”

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