Aberdeen businesses call for extended Eat Out To Help Out Scheme
Four-fifths of businesses (84%) in Aberdeen would support a new Eat Out to Help Out scheme for the city, according to a new poll conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland.
The FSB survey comes on the day that restrictions on hospitality firms are lifted in the city and the UK-wide discount eating scheme draws to a close.
David Groundwater, FSB’s development manager for Aberdeen, said: “This snap poll clearly shows a majority of firms in Aberdeen are in favour of new help for the city’s eateries. And no wonder when the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a huge success across the UK, but Aberdeen locals and firms simply haven’t had an opportunity to benefit.
“Aberdonians should be allowed to have a fair crack of the whip. An extension to the Eat Out to Help Out for our city doesn’t need to come this week, or next, but it should be rolled out before the end of the year.”
The small business campaign group has written to the secretary of state for Scotland Alister Jack MP about the issue, while a petition supporting such a move has gathered 3600+ signatures. Feedback from FSB members suggest that many operators believe they have lost between £2,000 and £50,000 by not being able to benefit from the initiative.
A cross-party group of local politicians support the change, and the FSB raised it with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross MP during a meeting yesterday.
Mr Groundwater added: “This move is supported by local politicians of all persuasions, local businesses in all sectors and most importantly thousands of people who live in Aberdeen. We’re not asking for extra, just the help we missed out on.”
On a UK-wide basis, FSB is also asking the Chancellor to look to extend the scheme.
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, commented: “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a roaring success, not only giving firms a welcome shot in the arm but also encouraging people to rediscover the brilliant local restaurants, pubs and cafes on their doorstop.
“While it is important to get help to Aberdeen, we also think it’d be great for the Chancellor to explore whether a further UK-wide extension is possible.”