Responding to the Press Release by Scottish Labour, the Scottish Beer and Pub Association have called for a rethink, saying it would cost jobs, investment and opportunities, while punishing tied-pubs with an expensive levy to meet the costs of the proposal.
Commenting, Scottish Beer & Pub Association CEO Brigid Simmonds OBE said:
“This proposed bill seeks to replicate legislation in England & Wales which is completely unsuitable and financially unfeasible for Scotland, seeking a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
“Only 17% of pubs are under a leased and tenanted arrangement here in Scotland, compared to 40% across the rest of the UK. It simply doesn’t work to compare like-for-like in this case, especially considering the financial burden of this costly legislation would be met by a levy on a tiny minority of pubs. Furthermore, there is already in place a system of self-regulation in Scotland which safeguards tenants’ rights and came into force less than two years ago.
“Last year a comprehensive independent report by the Scottish Government found that no part of the pub sector in Scotland was unfairly disadvantaged over another. Any reform should be evidence-based, and evidence to back these proposed changes is noticeably absent. If the Bill is passed, all the evidence shows that it will cost jobs, hurt small business owners, reduce entrepreneurship opportunities and see Scotland’s pubs lose-out on much needed investment.
“We are strongly urging Neil Bibby to rethink this proposal and instead focus on helping to secure meaningful support for all 4,900 pubs in Scotland, not just the 17 per cent which the current bill is unfairly aimed at.
“We believe further dialogue between trade bodies, government and other interested parties is now needed. We look forward to the forthcoming stakeholder meeting convened by the Scottish Government Minister to discuss these bill proposals in the round with other areas of real interest and concern to the industry at this time.”
A real Scottish pub success story is Kained Holdings, started by three friends just over a decade ago – Scott Arnot, Graham Suttle & Mo Clark. In 2007, they opened Lebowskis in Finnieston with investment from a pub company. A decade later, they now employ over 170 staff across nine bars and restaurants. They say this proposal would have a damaging impact for future investment and opportunities in the industry.
Commenting on the proposal, Scott Arnot of Kained Holdings said:
“When Graham, Mo and I opened Lebowskis in 2007, it was with the help of a pub company and beer-tie agreement. We were given an opportunity to try something new and we know that the investment we received could not have been replicated from other sources.
“The beer-tie arrangement has afforded myself and my partners opportunities to grow our business, support local communities and employ over 170 people. We do realise that the model is not perfect. However, this bill, while perhaps well-intended, is a threat to innovation and investment. It will see fewer opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovation in our Industry, and ultimately fewer Scottish success stories in the licenced trade.”