Scotland’s trade bodies present a ‘workable’ Strategic Framework to ScotGov ahead of debate

The Scottish Government has been presented with a ‘workable’ Strategic Framework by Scotland’s hospitality trade bodies – UKHospitality Scotland, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Beer and Pub Association and the Scottish Hospitality Group ahead of today’s scheduled debate on the framework put forward by the Scottish government in a bid to ensure that the Strategic Framework adopted is ‘right’ for the industry.

In a letter to the First Minister and MSPs, the trade bodies presented a ‘workable’ Strategic Framework for the country’s hospitality sector.

In a joint statement, the trade bodies said,  “Clearly the objective for everyone must be to contain the spread of the virus. It must, however, be done in a way which gives the incredibly valuable businesses in our sector the best possible chance of survival and a more equal shouldering of the burden at this time. If we are not careful, businesses will be closed for good and jobs permanently lost.

“We are now calling on the Scottish Government, and all MSPs, to acknowledge that our sector stands to lose the most if the framework is not absolutely right. They must take on board our points and ensure that any legislation, that is designed to keep communities safe and businesses intact, does not have the unintended consequence of delivering the final blow.”

As well as putting forward their framework the trade bodies, while emphasising that hospitality in Scotland is not to blame for the spread of the virus, have sought clarification on a number of issues and made proposals designed to support a sector that has been devastated by the COVID crisis.

  • Higher levels of restrictions will require higher levels of support for businesses. These must be at least in line with levels in England
  • The economic support made available in the form of grants will not be sufficient. There must be information from the Scottish Government as soon as possible how it intends to use its share of the £700 million funding allocated recently by the Chancellor to the devolved governments
  • Urgent confirmation of how the Job Support Scheme will work for Scottish businesses to save up to 70,000 jobs
  • Support must be provided for sub-sectors including music and entertainment venues, nightclubs and conference centres, that are unable to open
  • Anomalies regarding the serving of meals in cafes but not pubs or restaurants, or hotels unable to serve alcohol to residents, must be reviewed immediately.

The letter also urges the Scottish Government to ensure it does not impose any restrictions longer than is necessary, with any measures regularly reviewed. There also needs to be a clear roadmap for how areas facing tighter restrictions can work towards exiting those restrictions, with comprehensive guidance for businesses, based on consultation, issued in advance of any new measures.

The sector has confirmed it is prepared to make additional concessions to assuage concerns of the MSPs and the Scottish Government.