A new petition calling for the Scottish Government to ‘tweak the tiers’ is already gaining momentum after it was launched on Wednesday 18th November by the Scottish Hospitality Group. It is part of a broader campaign across social and media to address minor changes in restrictions that could avoid business closures and redundancies.
You can sign it by clicking here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/lethospitalityserve,
Says the petition, “The Scottish hospitality sector is on the brink of ruin. Without a change in the government’s approach or adequate financial support, local communities will lose vital facilities and thousands of people will lose their jobs – including many young people.”
Group spokesperson Stephen Montgomery said, “This is a plea on behalf of the whole industry, not just our members. We are truly humbled by all the support we’ve had in such a short space of time but we need even more people to get behind the campaign.
“It’s vital that we send the strongest possible message on behalf of the workers, suppliers and communities that rely on Scotland’s pubs, restaurants and hotels.”
The petition calls on the Scottish Government to:
- Allow licensed premises in tiers 2 and 3 to trade until 10pm with customers allowed to stay two hours for a meal
- Provide grant funding for viable businesses that cannot open, such as drink-led pubs
- Waive business rates until at least March 2022
- Support 5% VAT across all hospitality revenue streams until at least March 2022
- Set up a working group with industry to explore how best to emerge and recover from Covid19
- Honour its own youth guarantee launched only a few months ago by supporting this industry
In response to a direct Scottish Government request for industry feedback, SHG suggested an extension in trading hours in tiers 2 and 3 to 10pm. By extending opening times by just a few hours, it means businesses can operate a full dinner service and bring in enough money to cover fixed costs such as rent, furlough contributions, and staff pension payments.
The group has previously asked for the Scottish Government to ‘tweak the tiers’ or publish the scientific evidence behind the restrictions on trading hours.
The group has also warned that time is running out to save Christmas for families and businesses across Scotland, with continued deep uncertainty about what this year’s festive season could look like. Businesses are calling for more help in the short- to medium-term to prevent closures and redundancies.
On average for SHG members, the government grant aid is £5100 less A WEEK than it costs to run each venue (average costs are £5800 per week and the average grant is £700 per week). That means the group as a whole is losing £1m every week of being obliged to shut or unable to trade viably.
The figures are even worse when including the costs of shutdown, e.g. wasted stock. These are an average of £2,400 per venue. Adding the shutdown costs means weekly losses rise to £1.5m across the group.