Letter from ministers
Hospitality groups say ‘lip service’ paid to concerns
Paul Waterson: ‘eagerly awaiting this response’
Hospitality groups pursuing legal action against the Scottish government accused ministers of paying “lip service” to their proposals as they were handed a response to their concerns just four minutes before a deadline was due to expire.
The Scottish Beer & Pub Association, The Scottish Licensed Trade Association, UKHospitality (Scotland), the Scottish Hospitality Group and the Night Time Industries Association Scotland jointly served a pre-action letter on ministers last week.
It challenged the legal basis of recent restrictive legislation relating to the hospitality sector passed by the Scottish Parliament.
The letter followed receipt of an Opinion by prominent legal expertAidan O’Neill QC advising that a Judicial Review of the current restrictions would be warranted.
A response was delivered at 3.56pm on Wednesday complying with the requested deadline of 4pm.
In a joint statement the group’s spokesperson Paul Waterson said: “Now that the Scottish Government has formally responded to the group’s pre-action letter, the group will now follow proper protocols and ‘digest, consult and scrutinise; the contents, and will subsequently release a more substantial response at the appropriate time.
“All our operators in the licensed hospitality sector and the staff that this industry employs have been eagerly awaiting this response.
“We reiterate that we all understand and entirely support the goal of suppressing the virus, but our sector is in crisis and the announcements and debate in Parliament yesterday gives us no real grounds for optimism.
“Despite intensive discussions over the weekend and industry proposals for an alternative tier system and support scheme, requested by Government officials, which would help the industry survive not only operationally but financially, these have been given little more than lip service.
“Representatives of the group certainly do not consider these recently increased engagement opportunities as following proper consultation procedures given the short time afforded.”