SBPA responds to new Scottish pub restrictions

Responding to the new restrictive measures announced by the First Minister and Scottish Government, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) have said that the £40m of economic support offered is unlikely to save many businesses.

Thousands of jobs are now at high risk not just in the pub and hospitality sector, but across the wider supply chain.

CEO of the SBPA, Emma McClarkin said, “These harsh new restrictions will deliver a knockout blow for many of Scotland’s much-loved pubs and the communities they serve.

'We entirely understand and appreciate the difficult situation of the government and the need to continue to take measures to suppress the virus, but we question the fairness and wisdom of these restrictions and the level of financial support available to help our sector through this.

“As the first minister acknowledged, the pub and wider hospitality industry has worked incredibly hard, going above and beyond in implementing measures to provide safe and regulated places for communities to socialise in.

'We therefore question the proportionality of the 16-day total ban on alcohol consumption indoors in every pub and hospitality venue across Scotland, resulting in the loss of many pubs’ primary income stream. This is in addition to the total closure of all pubs and hospitality venues in the central belt of Scotland.'

McClarkin continued, “Pubs across the country provide a safe regulated environment for people to socialise in, but also increasingly as a space to work or study. The small number which can continue to operate with these restrictions will do so, but unfortunately without an ability to sell any alcohol, most are unlikely to be viable.

“The financial support on offer is of course welcome, but it does not go nearly far enough. For the majority of premises, the available funds will not even come close to covering the required furlough contributions for the period, never mind ongoing fixed costs and stock.

'We need to review the financial support on offer and work with government to protect as many pubs, jobs and livelihoods as possible.'

McClarkin added, “We also must not overlook the impact this will have on brewers, who have already seen around 50% of their on-trade business disappear this year. The knock-on effect of these new restrictions will be felt keenly among Scotland’s brewers. As a result, there will now likely be further redundancies and jobs lost within our sector.'