Funding demand

Hospitality group calls for business rates relief

Antonietta was launched last year and the landlord is now looking for a new leaseholder

Hospitality leaders are calling for a cut in business rates for the sector as more bars and restaurants continue to struggle with cost pressures.

The Scottish Hospitality Group has launched a Save Our Scottish Hospitality campaign which demands 75% emergency business rates relief to match support being offered in England and Wales.

It also wants a new category of business rates to be applied to the sector as well as a ‘new partnership’ with ministers to address ongoing issues.

It says the Scottish Government’s own survey reveals that three in five (60%) hospitality businesses have seen production, suppliers or both affected by higher energy prices and almost half have been forced to pass these higher costs on to consumers.

Stephen Montgomery, director of the Scottish Hospitality Group, which was formed in mid-2020, said:  The hospitality industry faces a crisis and we can’t go on like this.

“Without government support,  there will be higher prices for consumers, a loss of jobs, and many of our best-loved hospitality businesses closing their doors forever.”

Stephen Montgomery: the industry is facing a crisis (pic: Terry Murden)

Hospitality leaders have also come together to oppose a cut in festive licensing hours in Edinburgh.

The new Edinburgh Licensing Board proposes a a three-day reduction in extended trading until at least 2028. Licensed premises will be granted two hours of additional trade from 20 December to 2 January instead of 18 December to 3 January.

Five trade groups said in a statement that the proposal came “out of the blue” and is the “exact opposite of what the licensing board should be looking to do.”

Among the latest casualties, Loch Fyne, on Pier Place in Newhaven, suddenly closed its doors last month. Thousands more outlets have shut across the UK as costs spiral.

The lease on Antonietta in Leith Walk, Edinburgh, is on offer just a year after the restaurant was launched by the Vittoria Group.

After 17 years the La Favorita restaurant and delivery outlet was closed and reopened before Christmas as Antonietta with 140 covers. Studio So was commissioned to create an interior concept for the rebranded restaurant.

The lease is now being offered by Vittoria Group on a long-term basis for over £70,000 per annum plus a premium for the existing fixtures and fittings to grant a new lease. The La Favorita takeaway unit is not included.

A spokesman for the letting agent said the tenant’s lease had reached expiry.

“We have been instructed by the landlord to remarket the premises for let to offer a restaurant or bar operator the opportunity to trade from an iconic location on Leith Walk,” he said.

Vittoria owns a number of restaurants including the eponymous Vittoria’s, also in Leith Walk, Taste of Italy, Bertie’s and Divino.

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