400 businesses and workers sign open letter to First Minister to save Scottish hospitality

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More than 400 hospitality businesses and workers have signed an open letter to the First Minister Humza Yousaf, urging him to save Scottish hospitality.

The letter comes a week before the Scottish Budget, with the Scottish Government under pressure from the hospitality industry to match support provided by the UK Government for hospitality businesses in England. At the Autumn Statement, the UK Government announced 75% business rates relief for hospitality businesses in England for the next year.

The Scottish Hospitality Group’s Save Scottish Hospitality campaign has warned that without new support, many Scottish hospitality businesses will struggle to survive.

The open letter to the First Minister has attracted support from the owners and employees of pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels across Scotland and it warns that “without support from the Scottish Government at the Scottish Budget, we will see our much-loved local hospitality venues disappear forever.”

The Save Scottish Hospitality campaign is calling for an emergency 75% business rates relief to match the support that hospitality businesses in England & Wales have received over the last year, the 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, and 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, “This letter is an urgent plea from hospitality owners and workers from the length and breadth of Scotland. The First Minister must listen to those on the frontline of our hospitality sector and deliver support to save our hospitality sector before many of the venues we love disappear forever.”

“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.