In its response to the ‘Restricting alcohol advertising and promotion’ consultation, UKHospitality Scotland has outlined the harm the proposals would have on hospitality businesses, consumer choice and Scotland’s position as a world-leading tourist destination.
It said the proposals, if implemented, would:
• Dramatically increase costs for businesses and significantly impact trading, risking business failure and job losses.
• Lead to less choice for consumers, as a result of smaller, up and coming brands being unable to promote themselves and expand. This would also hit low- and no-alcohol drinks brands, which are becoming increasingly popular.
• Damage the tourist experience, where restrictions on promoting whisky would diminish hospitality experiences for visitors.
• Leave huge financial gaps for major and community sporting and music events, as a result of the impact on event sponsorship.
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said: “It cannot be overstated how wide-ranging and damaging these proposals would be to hospitality businesses, if implemented. It would be a self-inflicted act of harm that would damage our sector for generations.
“The Scottish Government needs to recognise that our businesses already work to some of the toughest licensing laws anywhere and take their responsibilities incredibly seriously. Marketing and promotion is already, rightly, heavily regulated but these proposals have ignored this and, as a consequence, risk serious harm to one of Scotland’s most successful sectors.
“Almost no one benefits from this. Businesses, consumers and the Scottish economy will suffer as a result. There is also no evidence that these restrictions will achieve the Scottish Government’s public health objectives.
“Hospitality has time and again proven that it can deliver many times over for the economy; creating growth, jobs and prosperity for communities. These proposals, alongside the planned introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme, will drown businesses in red tape and cost, eliminating our ability to drive growth in the economy.
“The business community is in lockstep on this and I would urge the Government to heed the advice of UKHospitality Scotland, and others, and not go ahead with these damaging restrictions.”