In response to the First Minister’s announcement today, the SLTA released the following statement:-
Today’s announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to help the licensed hospitality sector, following the slew of cancellations experienced by operators – some reporting cancellations of between 60-70% after Public Health Scotland last week advised deferring Christmas parties until another time – is welcomed.
However, £100 million will go nowhere near the “aid package” needed by the industry to repair the damage already done.
With the Scottish Government’s hands tied to provide more financial help, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association calls on the Westminster Government to provide the “aid” required for the licensed hospitality sector to survive at this crucial time for the industry.
SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said:-
“Of course, we all want to do what we can to stop the spread of the virus and the licensed hospitality sector has gone to enormous effort and invested millions of pounds in mitigation measures and will continue to do so for as long as it can.
The shutdown of the licensed hospitality industry, effectively by stealth, puts most businesses in an even worse scenario than last Christmas when there was some finance available via Government grants and the furlough scheme was in place.
Whilst the restrictions that we feared have not yet been imposed, there still remains a great deal of uncertainty for our industry which was beginning to recover, albeit slowly, and looking forward to reasonably good prospects during the key festive trading period.
We have not been ordered to close our doors yet but many have no choice when so many bookings have been cancelled.
Last week’s call from Public Health Scotland not to have festive parties – endorsed the next day by the First Minister – killed Christmas and, I fear, will kill some businesses who will not survive without financial support.
Our industry desperately needs additional aid to save it – and it needs it now.”SLTA Managing Director Colin Wilkinson
I cannot stress how serious the situation is – many of our members are in dire straits. There will be no happy Christmas for those who are worried about the future and face the prospect of making staff redundant or, worse, pulling down the shutters.
It is not only operators who are affected by Government interventions – staff and those in the supply chain are also being dragged into the horrendous situation we are still in without any other restrictions looming on the horizon.”