Business briefing at 1pm

Vital bus companies across Scotland are promised help

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Boost for buses

The Scottish Government will continue to provide bus operators with  financial assistance to keep alive essential services and support local firms.

The pledge follows the drop in bus passengers – put as high as 81 per cent for concessionary travellers alone – during the last fortnight.

Bus operators will continue to be reimbursed for concessionary travel and receive grant payments at the levels forecast prior to COVID-19.

The government typically spends more than £260 million every year in supporting bus services in Scotland.

Fishing industry nets £5m to stay afloat – MSP

The seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million of support from the Scottish Government.

Around 650 seafood fishing companies are reportedly suffering from the collapse of markets for Scottish catches such as langoustine, prawns and crab.

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said: ‘There is huge amount of worry and concern here given the near total collapse of markets as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The industry is vitally important and this support is essential.’

However, John Robins of Animal Concern, commented: ‘£5m is not going to go very far. All we are asking is that this public money is spent wisely and used to support smaller, more environmentally-friendly members of the fisheries industry and not given to multinationals.’

Distillery lends a hand to sanitiser

The Isle of Harris Distillery has provided high-strength alcohol to make much-needed hand sanitiser for the community.

As well as being a key ingredient in spirit-making, high-strength alcohol is also used to make hand sanitiser.

Sanitisers made by A.S Apothecary and Essence of Harris are now
being distributed for free to local care homes, vulnerable people, community shops, NHS workers and other vital services in Harris.

A version is available to buy online from www.asapoth.com with proceeds used to cover manufacturing costs.

Simon Erlanger, MD of Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd, said its team was ‘very pleased’ to support the local initiatives.

Whisking up more hand sanitiser?

The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) is to launch an online portal to help with the supply of hand sanitiser to health and social services, emergency services and local communities across the UK.

A number of Scotch Whisky producers can supply high-strength alcohol or make it themselves.

The SWA has worked closely with the authorities, including Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Health & Safety Executive, to get the green light from regulators to follow World Health Organisation guidelines in the production of hand sanitiser.

Scotch Whisky producers are now being invited to submit details to the portal. It is expected to go live by 5pm today at www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/insights/coronavirus