The Scottish government has responded to a letter from five of Scotland’s hospitality industry bodies about the commencement of the legal process against restrictions it has imposed on the licensed trade. The response arrived at 3.56 p.m. yesterday complying with the requested deadline of 4.00 p.m and the group will now “digest, consult and scrutinise” it.
The Scottish Beer & Pub Association, The Scottish Licensed Trade Association, UKHospitality (Scotland), the Scottish Hospitality Group and the Night Time Industries Association Scotland jointly served a pre-action letter following receipt of an Opinion by legal expert Aidan O’Neill QC advising that a Judicial Review would be warranted.
In a Joint Statement the group’s spokesperson, Paul Waterson (pictured) said, “Now that the Scottish Government has formally responded to the group’s pre-action letter, the group will now follow proper protocols and “digest, consult and scrutinise” the contents and will subsequently release a more substantial response at the appropriate time.“
All our operators in the licensed hospitality sector and the staff that this industry employs have been eagerly awaiting this response. We reiterate that we all understand and entirely support the goal of suppressing the virus, but our sector is in crisis and the announcements and debate in Parliament yesterday gives us no real grounds for optimism in the future.
“Despite intensive discussions over the weekend and industry proposals for an alternative tier system and support scheme, requested by Government officials, which would help the industry survive not only operationally but financially, these have been given little more than lip service.”Representatives of the group certainly do not consider these recently increased engagement opportunities as following proper consultation procedures given the short time afforded.”
The associations have joined forces to save not just the small to medium independent business but also the large corporate multi-operators that operate within Scotland’s Hospitality Industry. All these operators are under intense pressure and are fighting for the very survival of their businesses and for the jobs they provide.