North-east business bosses have welcomed new measures that will see workers unable to do their jobs paid 80% of their salaries.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the government would pay up to 80% of those left out of work in the sector’s salaries, up to the value of £2,500 per month.
Mr Sunak said any employer in the country would be eligible for the coronavirus job retention scheme issued via HMRC.
He added: “Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – that’s just above the median income.
“Thanks to the enormous efforts of our critical financial services sector those loans will now be available starting from Monday.”
The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1, and will be open before the end of April.
Andrew Martin, interim chairman of the Aberdeen City and Shire Hotel Association, and director of the Scottish Centre of Tourism at Robert Gordon University, said: “Certainly this virus has hit our hotel, hospitality and events sector brutally. A number of hoteliers have contacted me distraught they have to have tough conversations with staff colleagues that have been with them 10 years.
“But, there is no business, and now we must close. For a greater good we get that, but it’s life-changing.
“The Chancellor’s announcement was very welcome, but businesses have to wait until April for the funds.”
Nightclub boss Tony Cochrane, who owns Club Tropicana and Venga as well as Private Eyes, said he welcomed the new measures.
He said: “We were ready to close anyway because of the environment, we were waiting to see what happened.
“It’s a big help, the 80% pay will help to an extent. We’ll survive – we’re not going to make any money, but we’ll survive.
“It’s the people that are self-employed that we are worried about, like the self-employed DJs.”
Aberdeen Inspired chief executive Adrian Watson said that the organisation will be focusing on business resilience.
He said: “It’s been handled well by the UK and Scottish Government.
“The primary concern is public safety. We’re going into a time of real crisis.”