Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson is calling on the SNP Government to put measures in place to allow self-catering accommodation to open sooner than is planned.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP’s call comes after the route map outlined by the Scottish Government puts self-catering properties alongside other accommodation in Phase 3 of the exit, rather than Phase 2.
Mr Carson has had concerns from constituents since the publication of the route map highlighting the unfairness of putting self-catering accommodation alongside other providers, when these properties could be opened more easily in line with social distancing compared with hotels and B&B’s.
He is also lobbying hard for caravan parks to re-open in Phase 2 as well, highlighting their importance to his rural constituency and how this could be done with a lower risk to the wider population.
He says that there is a real danger that many self-catering properties will have to close if they lose out on more income on top of the losses they have already suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UK Government have announced self-catering properties will be re-opened in the ‘amber’ phase, with hotels in the ‘red’ recovery phase, with the Welsh Government also having measures for “accommodation without shared facilities” in an amber phase.
Commenting Finlay Carson MSP said: “Self-catering accommodation is hugely important in rural constituencies like mine in Galloway and West Dumfries.
“Throughout this crisis, they have been seeking greater support and it was extremely disappointing when they were left out of initial grant support.
“Now, their specific concerns must be listened to again by the SNP Government.
“They should not be listed alongside other accommodation providers in easing out of lockdown at Phase 3 which has been proposed.
“I have already heard from many providers that this means they are not able to take bookings for the vital summer period which is another blow on top of the income they have already lost in recent months.
“Caravan parks also come into this category who I am also lobbying hard to be re-opened sooner than is currently planned.
“They are vital to the rural economy in terms of providing jobs and they remain in complete limbo about whether or not if they will have any sort of summer season.
“Self-catering providers without shared facilities should be re-opened sooner in Phase 2, as has been outlined in other parts of the UK in order to allow these owners to start generating some level of income again.”