Responding to the publication of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, UKHospitality Scotland’s Executive Director Leon Thompson today said:
“With many hospitality businesses still in survival mode, the 2021-22 Programme for Government offers little that is new for one of the nation’s most important economic sectors. Whilst the reiteration of full business rates relief is very welcome, hospitality remains the hardest hit. With the threat of vaccine certification hanging over some of our businesses, now would have been the time for the Scottish Government to say more about ongoing support for a sector which employed 285,000 people pre-pandemic.
“Instead businesses struggling with short term debt, and chronic staff and supply shortages, have today learned that the Scottish Government will unveil an Out of Home Action Plan later this week, as part of a Public Health Bill, that is likely to push more burdens and costs on to businesses.
“Hospitality wants to play its part in delivering the healthy eating agenda, but to do this it needs to be treated as a partner by the Scottish Government. UKHospitality Scotland will be meeting with officials this week to hear more on this and to make the case for limiting burdens on businesses that are still getting back to work in the face of immense challenges.
“Similarly, UKHospitality Scotland has pushed for a delay to the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme, which is also included in the Programme for Government, and the sector awaits the Scottish Government’s decision on that.
“Hospitality can help to lead and drive Scotland’s economic and social recovery but the Programme for Government fails to recognise this. Rather, it has the potential to increase pressures on businesses at a time they are least able to manage them.”