Tweaks to Covid rules ‘could save 1,800 businesses’
Pubs are fighting for survival (pic: Terry Murden)
Thousands of jobs and businesses in the hospitality industry could saved by relatively minor changes to the Covid restrictions policy, according to a new economic impact study.
Extending opening times by two and a half hours and allowing alcohol to be served under strictly-controlled conditions would more than double the turnover of pubs and restaurants from £419 million to £1.1bn.
The study by Biggar Economics also found that it would secure the viability of 1,816 businesses and increase the number of jobs supported from the current 28,300 to 60,800.
UKHospitality Scotland (UKH Scotland), the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) are calling for the Scottish Government to implement the changes, adding that they would also turn a £261m fiscal cost of subsidy into a £63m positive tax contribution.
By contrast, returning to the previous restrictions would cost thousands of jobs, at a cost of £347m.
The economic impact study examined several scenarios, all of which maintain COVID-secure public health measures while allowing longer trading hours, with alcohol served, in Scotland’s Levels 1 to 3 restrictions regions.
Executive director of UKHospitality Scotland, Wille MacLeod said: “The restrictions, as currently in place, have a disproportionate impact on the hospitality sector and is costing the Scottish economy millions of pounds.