The SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association), in sending its congratulations to Humza Yousaf, the new leader of the SNP, has called for a swift “reset” with business in the wake of turmoil caused by the Covid pandemic, Brexit and misplaced legislation.
Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said: “We congratulate Humza Yousaf on his appointment as the new SNP leader, and expected incoming First Minister, and pledge to work with his new Cabinet, officials and MSPs to solve the many ongoing problems and challenges facing the licensed trade as it recovers from the pandemic, deals with the fallout of Brexit, and navigates unprecedented levels of bureaucracy and misplaced legislation that is hampering business growth.
“Hospitality businesses and the licensed trade make a major contribution to Scotland’s economy and its important tourism industry – we are also a major employer across the length and breadth of the country.
“However, companies are weighed down by ill-thought-through legislation at a time when they are still recovering from the pandemic, dealing with severe staff shortages and struggling with the realities of spiralling cost-of-living issues and rising costs of doing business. We need to see an urgent reset in the relationship between the Scottish Government and the business community.”
Mr Wilkinson continued: “We urge Mr Yousaf to pause the deposit return scheme (DRS) until a more business-friendly solution can be found for those smaller businesses that will have to deal with the time-consuming bureaucracy and unnecessary layers of administration.
“In addition, we would seek dialogue at the earliest opportunity to discuss the proposed restrictions on alcohol advertising sponsorship which will impact on many everyday aspects of pub life.”
Accepting that VAT is not a devolved issue, Mr Wilkinson added: “A reduction in VAT would be a welcome move for everyone involved in hospitality and the licensed trade and we hope that Holyrood and Westminster can discuss this as an urgent measure to help businesses.
“We also hope that the new regime at Holyrood can find a meaningful solution to change the current non-domestic rates system which is hugely outdated and in need of further reform.”