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Industry reacts to Autumn statement and ask Scottish Government to replicate relief – DRAM Scotland

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The hospitality and tourism industry has responded to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement earlier this week.

While pleased to see that alcohol duty has been frozen until August 2024, the focus has been business rates relief. As the Chancellor freezes the small business multiplier and extends business rates relief in England, the demand for the Scottish Government to follow suit in December when it announces its own spending plans has been echoed across the trade bodies.

Commenting, Paul Togneri of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) said, “The UK Government have listened to industry and backed business with this Autumn Statement, freezing beer duty, freezing the small business rates multiplier, and extending 75% business rates relief. The Scottish Government must now do the same.

“Scottish pubs and bars have been at a competitive disadvantage since business rates relief was removed in Scotland, costing the sector millions and putting businesses at Scotland at a competitive disadvantage when attracting investment. This is especially critical now, given the National Living Wage which will increases to bring significant extra costs to the sector.

“The Barnett consequentials triggered by the 75% business rates discount in England must be used to end the disparity in Scotland, and to ensure that our much-loved pubs and bars are able to continue to be a powerhouse of the Scottish economy. Anything less will be met with dismay by pub operators, who collectively employ over 45,000 people in the country.”

Stephen Montgomery, Director of the Scottish Hospitality Group said, “Across the UK, many hospitality businesses are on the brink. The support announced for the hospitality industry by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement is welcome and gives English and Welsh pubs, hotels and restaurants a fighting chance at survival. The Scottish Government must now match this support for Scotland’s much-loved hospitality businesses. The survival of our jobs, our livelihoods and local venues across Scotland are on the line and depend on emergency support. “

“The reality is that Scottish hospitality is fighting for survival after a double economic punch. The hospitality sector was the hardest hit of any Scottish industry by the COVID-19 pandemic and our businesses still face the legacy of challenges created by the pandemic. The cost-of-living crisis and inflation has also seen the cost of doing business skyrocket, with energy prices and supplier costs going through the roof. The Scottish Government’s own figures show that the hospitality industry is struggling to recover.”

“For Scottish hospitality venues, it’s the decisions taken by the Scottish Government that matter. The Chancellor’s decision to extend 75% business rates relief for hospitality businesses in England must be at least matched by the Scottish Government at the Scottish Budget. There are just four weeks to save Scottish hospitality – we call on Shona Robison to rise to the challenge and give Scottish hospitality a lifeline.”

 Leon Thompson, Executive Director, UKHospitality Scotland, said, “The extension of the business rates relief scheme, as outlined by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement, is excellent news for pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels in England. However, it is vital that funds allocated to the Scottish Government are now put towards business rates relief for Scottish hospitality businesses.

“There was no relief last year, which created a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the UK and brought about further pain for businesses in Scotland. Receiving the full 75% relief is essential to ensure that more venues can focus on thriving and not just surviving.

“UKHospitality Scotland has also called on the Scottish Government to freeze the poundage rate this year. By doing this the Scottish Government can ensure our businesses benefit in full from a package of support that can help deliver growth in the Scottish economy.

“Business rates relief and a freeze on the poundage in next month’s Scottish Budget will help Scottish hospitality blossom and continue to do what it does best – provide guests with fantastic experiences, build stronger businesses, create thousands of jobs and deliver a meaningful contribution to the economic and social fibre of society.”

CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said, “CAMRA is calling on the Scottish and Welsh Governments to commit, now, to offering similar help for pubs with the burden of business rates.

“Freezing all alcohol duty until August 2024 is certainly to be welcomed. However, this is a missed opportunity to give targeted help to protect the nation’s pubs, social clubs and taprooms by cutting tax on draught beer and cider served in pubs instead of an across-the-board freeze in all alcohol duty.

“Reducing the tax burden specifically on pints in pubs must be extended in the future to keep pub-going affordable and to help keep pubs open and at the heart of both community life and local economies by giving them a fighting chance of competing against cheap supermarket alcohol.”

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said, “The key announcement for our industry today was of course that the Chancellor will freeze the small business multiplier and extend the 75% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure for another year in England and Wales.  Scotland’s business community now require the Scottish Government to urgently signal that it will mirror this support in December’s Scottish Budget announcement; this will be key to supporting the tourism, leisure, hospitality and retail sectors over the next financial year. Not doing so, as has been the case this past year, will without question see the demise of many businesses within our sector.”

 

 

 

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