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‘People are on their knees now’ says the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers

Fighting for the survival of Scotland’s self-caterers has gone ‘stratospheric’ during the lockdown says the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers (ASSC).

Between shutting down tourism and limited financial support, Scotland’s B&B’s ‘are on their knees’ after almost a year under lockdown.

Fiona Campbell, the ASSC’s chief executive, said: “What’s really terrifying is that we’re almost a year into this pandemic, and we’re still in survival mode. There’s still people who’ve not had any financial support.

“People are on their knees, absolutely on their knees now, and so we’re still trying to work really, really, hard to look after those people and make sure they do get some financial support.

“And then of course we’re still in survival mode but we’re also looking at recovery, and what does that look like? And how can we prepare to reopen and recover our businesses?”

Unlike hotels and restaurants, B&B’s haven’t had the choice to diversify into new ways of meeting consumer demands under lockdown.

They haven’t been able to set up click and collects or takeaways like how restaurants have managed to.

And they’ve also not been eligible for furlough nor the self-employed income support scheme because the income the income is ‘put down on the property’.

Fiona Campbell explained: “So we’ve been really badly hit in terms of the impact of the pandemic, but again, got to be optimistic, on the other side when we do open, I think we’re expecting a really massive bounce and surge in bookings over the summer.”

Since the most challenging times are supposed to be behind B&B’s across Scotland and Highland Perthshire.

Now, B&B’s are looking to the future and preparing for Scotland to reopen its doors and let travel flow throughout the country.

Fiona Campbell put it as: “We’ve got livelihoods in taters, and we’ve also got people desperately needing to get away with their families. And self-catering is perfectly positioned to do that.”

But before that can happen, safety is the top priority of the ASSC. So, the association has set up ‘incredibly robust’ cleaning protocols.

The policy is supported by supported by the Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Tourism Alliance and the Wales Association of Self-Catering Operators.

Fiona Campbell explained: “And the result of those cleaning protocols was that there is zero evidence of transmission in a self-catering property, at all, from when we opened in the third of July last year until we closed again.”

Anyone looking to find more information on the association can go to: https://www.assc.co.uk/

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