Unchanged Scottish Budget Abandons Hospitality Businesses

The Scottish Budget for 2024-25 was passed unchanged at Holyrood yesterday afternoon, leading to fierce criticism from various industry bodies.

Despite opposition parties voting against it, the SNP and Green majority in parliament meant the Budget Bill was passed by 68 votes to 55, with one abstention.

Leon Thompson, Executive Director of UKHospitality Scotland, said:
“The Scottish Budget passing, unchanged, is the clearest sign yet that the Scottish Government has decided to abandon its self-proclaimed reset with business.

“Instead, it is continuing on the same worn path of warm words and no action.

“Businesses up and down the country, across hospitality, leisure and tourism, have put forward the strongest possible evidence that the lack of business rates support is stifling growth, deterring investment, reducing trading capacity and, ultimately, forcing businesses to close.

“With our sector being so integral to Scotland’s culture and offering on the world stage, using the additional funds resulting from 75% rates relief in England to put them on an equal footing was a no-brainer. Instead, for the second year in a row, our businesses in Scotland have been left at a significant competitive disadvantage.

“If the Scottish Government wants to regain any semblance of trust from the sector, it now needs to make good on its publicly declared commitment to reform business rates for hospitality.

“The unjust and unfair system in operation is in urgent need of reform to deliver a system that enables hospitality to invest and grow. This is now more urgent than ever. This must be the priority of the Scottish Government’s New Deal for Business.”