15 December 2020
Small changes to restrictions can make big difference to hospitality industry
The economic viability of Scotland’s crisis-hit hospitality industry could be dramatically enhanced and the prospects for tens of thousands of workers improved by relatively minor changes to restrictions policy, according to a new economic impact study.
The independent study by BiGGAR Economics found that adjusting opening hours by around two and a half hours and allowing alcohol to be served under strictly controlled conditions would increase hospitality business turnover from £419m to £1.1bn; increasing the number of jobs supported from the current 28,300 to 60,800; and securing the viability of 1,816 businesses.
Scotland’s main hospitality groups, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA), Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) and UKHospitality-Scotland (UKH-Scotland) have called on the Scottish Government to urgently implement the changes to save businesses and jobs.
Commenting on the report, SWA Chief Executive Karen Betts said:
“We have huge respect for the difficult job being done by government as they try to limit COVID-19 infections, keep everyone safe and protect the economy. However, there’s no doubt that these have been devastating months for the hospitality industry. This report confirms that businesses are struggling to survive and protect the employment of thousands of people across Scotland.
“The latest job figures, released by the Office of National Statistics, show that hospitality has been the worst hit sector by Covid-19 – accounting for almost 300,000 job losses across the UK.
“Hospitality businesses have invested heavily in ensuring their premises are Covid-secure, but without customers no business can survive. Making small changes to the current restrictions could make a big difference to the future prospects of thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of livelihoods, and so to the trajectory of Scotland’s economic recovery.”