SBPA queries Scottish reopening plan for pubs

The CEO of Scottish Beer & Pub Association has responded to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s statement in the Scottish Parliament in which she outlined the Scottish Government’s strategic framework for reopening.

Emma McClarkin said, “The announcement today that hospitality can reopen from 26th April under the tiered system raises more questions than it answers. Pub businesses across Scotland now have a lengthy and uncertain wait until mid March when details of the tier system will be announced.

'While we welcome the news that the government intends to provide additional support for business for four weeks after opening and a tapered support for businesses facing tiered restrictions, it is essential they strip out the complexity of the tiers introduced last year and make them easier to interpret and work with.”

McClarkin noted, “For much of 2020 pubs in Scotland had to contend with onerous and unjustified restrictions which made it unviable to trade, resulting in many closing their doors for good.

'We hope that in reviewing the tier system the First Minister and her government will learn the lessons of last year and remove the arbitrary, and frankly, bizarre restrictions previously imposed such as curfew, no music and banning of the sale of alcohol. This is continued closure for pubs in all but name.”

Meanwhile the announcement comes on same day that Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill, which would introduce a levy on some pubs and destroy investment in the sector, is being debated in Parliamentary committee.

This is despite concerns from over 150 pub tenants, representing 20% of affected pubs, who wrote jointly to the First Minister at the weekend to reconsider the damaging bill.