Pub groups list demands ahead of Holyrood debate
Ministers have been warned that pubs and restaurants may close permanently (pic: Terry Murden)
Hospitality businesses say that if they are forced to accept tougher restrictions they must get more government support – or risk widespread closures and job losses.
Four trade groups have submitted a series of key points ahead of a debate on the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework that will set the course of hospitality for the next six months.
Its appeal comes as North and South Lanarkshire could be placed into the highest level of lockdown.
Level four measures cannot be ruled out by the Scottish government due to the ‘level of concern’ in the areas, according to a leaked letter to the council umbrella organisation Cosla. Dundee could be moved into level three due to concerns over rising infection numbers in Tayside.
The list of demands from the hospitality groups includes a call for clarification on a number of “anomalies” such as what is a cafe and on the sale of alcohol.
The groups say the economic support made available in the form of grants will not be sufficient. Instead they want information from the Scottish Government on how it intends to use its share of the £700 million funding allocated recently by the Chancellor to the devolved governments.
They also want confirmation of how the Job Support Scheme will work and say support must be provided for sectors such as music and entertainment venues, nightclubs and conference centres, that are unable to open.
The four groups – UKHospitality Scotland, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Beer and Pub Association and Scottish Hospitality Group – say the measures must be regularly reviewed with a clear roadmap for how areas facing local lockdowns can work towards exiting those restrictions.
This must include comprehensive guidance for businesses, based on consultation, issued in advance of any new measures.
The sector has confirmed it is prepared to make additional concessions to assuage concerns of the MSPs and the Scottish Government.
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.”