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Trade bodies propose 'workable framework' ahead of Scottish hospitality debate

Published:  27 October, 2020

Trade bodies representing Scotland’s hospitality sector have proposed a workable ‘strategic framework’ for the industry ahead of today’s scheduled debate that will map out the next six months for the sector.

In a letter to the First Minister and MSPs, UK Hospitality Scotland, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Beer & Pub Association and Scottish Hospitality Group emphasise that hospitality in Scotland is not to blame for the spread of the virus and demand clarification on a number of issues and made proposals designed to support the sector.  

Points include that if there are to be higher levels of restrictions then there must be higher levels of support for businesses, and they must fall, at least, in line with those in England; economic support made available in the form of grants will not be sufficient and there must be information how the government intends to use its share of the £700m funding allocated to the devolved governments; urgent confirmation of how the Job Support Scheme will work for Scottish businesses to save up to 70,000 jobs; and that support must be provided for sub-sectors which are unable to open.

Moreover, it states that anomalies regarding the serving of meals in cafes but not pubs or restaurants, or hotels unable to serve alcohol to residents, must be “reviewed immediately”.

In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “No other sector has been as heavily disrupted as hospitality and the planned framework looks set to provide further restrictions which may destroy businesses and wipe out jobs.

“Clearly the objective for everyone must be to contain the spread of the virus. It must, however, be done in a way which gives the incredibly valuable businesses in our sector the best possible chance of survival and a more equal shouldering of the burden at this time. If we are not careful, businesses will be closed for good and jobs permanently lost.

“We are now calling on the Scottish Government, and all MSPs, to acknowledge that our sector stands to lose the most if the framework is not absolutely right. They must take on board our points and ensure that any legislation, that is designed to keep communities safe and businesses intact, does not have the unintended consequence of delivering the final blow.”

The letter also urges the Scottish government to ensure it does not impose any restrictions longer than is necessary, with any measures regularly reviewed. 

In addition, it states the need for there to be a clear roadmap for how areas facing tighter restrictions can work towards exiting those restrictions, with comprehensive guidance for businesses, based on consultation, issued in advance of any new measures.