Hospitality challenges Shona Robison to meet sector bosses


The Scottish Hospitality Group has issued a public challenge to Shona Robison, the Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary and Deputy First Minister, to meet owners of Scottish hospitality businesses ahead of the Scottish Budget and listen to their concerns.

Despite attending roundtables with other groups, it is understood that the Finance Secretary has not met with any major body representing the Scottish hospitality industry. The Scottish Hospitality Group has written on two occasions to the Finance Secretary (1 November, 17 November) to invite her to meet with hospitality owners, but has received no response to the requests.

Last month, the Scottish Hospitality Group launched the Save Scottish Hospitality campaign, warning that there was just five weeks to save the Scottish hospitality industry from disaster.

The Scottish hospitality sector faces a crisis, with many businesses struggling to recover from the double economic punch of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of rising inflation and energy prices.

Since the campaign was launched, the UK Government has announced 75% business rates relief for hospitality businesses in England. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Scottish pubs are closing at twice the rate of those in England.

The Save Scottish Hospitality campaign calls on the Scottish Government to use the Scottish Budget in December to provide emergency support for the hospitality industry to survive, and a new long-term deal to support the sector to thrive. The campaign calls for:

  • an emergency 75% business rates relief to match the support that hospitality businesses in England & Wales have received over the last year;
  • creation of a new hospitality category for business rates, which would recognise the unique challenges faced by hospitality and ensure that rates don’t cripple hospitality businesses;
  • a new partnership between the hospitality industry and government to develop a plan to grow Scotland’s much-loved hospitality industry and address the challenges it faces.

Stephen Montgomery, Director of the Scottish Hospitality Group, said, “Our hospitality industry – our pubs, bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels – makes a vital contribution to Scotland’s economy and they are embedded in the heart of our communities.

“But the hospitality industry faces a crisis and we can’t go on like this. In our hour of need, it is extremely disappointing that Shona Robison can’t find the time to meet with hospitality businesses to listen to what we have to say. We are willing to meet with her any time and in any place, and we hope she will finally accept our invitation.”

“We need to back our hospitality industry to survive and thrive, and a fairer deal on business rates would be one step the Government can take in the Budget to give our hospitality industry a fighting chance. If it can be done for hospitality businesses in England, then it can be done for Scottish hospitality too”.

“The Scottish Government claims it wants a new relationship with the business community. It’s time to put their money where their mouth is.”

The Scottish Hospitality Group represents many of Scotland’s best-loved, family and independently-owned hospitality businesses – from bars, pubs, and cafes to restaurants and hotels. The Group was recently relaunched with an expanded membership, in every area of Scotland and collectively employing more than 6,000 people.


Category: Bar & Pub, News, People
Tags: Save Scottish Hospitality, Scottish Hospitality Group, SHG, Shona Robison, Stephen Montgomery