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Cut Business Rates For Pubs And Bars Scottish Government Urged

Scotland’s on-trade is calling on the its government to consider a new deal for the nation’s pubs and bars on non-domestic rates, to help “desperately” relieve pressure on such firms that are branded a major growth driver of the Scottish economy.

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) is proposing a new hospitality specific business rates multiplier set at 35p in the pound marking a reduction from the present range of 49.8p to 52.4p depending on the property.

The organisation said this proposal, which it has outlined alongside others in its Programme for Government 2024 document, would support the industry in continuing to rebuild from the pandemic while dealing with rising costs and staffing pressures.

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association said:

“The Programme for Government gives the Scottish government an opportunity to show clear support for the sector by committing to investigating a new deal on business rates,”

“Scotland’s pubs and bars continue to face a multitude of strong headwinds, which is preventing many being able to recover fully from the impacts of the pandemic. We desperately need to relieve pressure on these businesses and additional support on business rates continues to be the number one ask from pub operators in survey-after-survey.

Other recommendations from the SBPA include support for reduced VAT, official endorsement of low and no-alcohol products as ways to encourage responsible consumption, and recognition for the cumulative regulatory burden currently facing the sector.

Ms McClarkin added: “Our pubs and bars are a critical element of Scotland’s tourism offer, contributing more than £1.8bn to the economy every year, but we need better support for this to continue.