SBPA welcomes next steps in deposit return scheme process

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Commenting on the analysis of responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the introduction of a deposit return scheme, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association – the leading trade association for brewers and pub companies in Scotland – has welcomed the acknowledgement of key issues for the nation’s pubs and brewers.

CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds OBE said:

“It’s very welcome to see the concerns raised by the SBPA being echoed by others in this consultation process, particularly around the unique issues for alcohol products and our wider sector.

“It is imperative that any scheme is well designed and robust for it to be a success. Identifying potential issues such as the impact on our sector will help ensure any system meets our collective ambitions, whilst also avoiding potential harms to industry or other policy areas.

“Placing a flat deposit on alcoholic products severely risks undermining the Scottish Government’s policy of minimum-unit pricing by making higher strength products relatively cheaper than lower strength products at the point of sale.

“It is also our opinion that any system must be outward facing, and we encourage the Scottish Government to work with DEFRA for a UK-wide solution. A Scotland-only system risks creating a number of trade barriers which would impact disproportionately on small and medium sized producers, whilst also risking the record growth achieved in Scottish exports.

“Our industry takes environmental responsibility very seriously and fully supports the goal of improving the circular economy, reducing litter rates and increased sustainability through recycling. We look forward to working proactively with the Scottish Government in the next stage of this process and in delivering a system that works for everyone.”

Scottish Beer & Pub Association launches new package of support for pubs

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The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) – the leading trade association for brewers and pub companies in Scotland – welcomed MSPs to the Kilderkin pub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile last night (Tuesday 19th) in a celebration of the great Scottish Pub.

The SBPA also used the opportunity to launch and highlight a series of initiatives to be developed throughout 2019, which will give operators of tenanted and leased-pubs added support and assistance in running their business. These new initiatives will supplement the 2016 Scottish Code of Practice, which expanded on existing protections in place under a Code of Practice that had been in operation on a UK-wide basis.

The four initiatives are:

  1. Strengthening and promoting tenant rights through the creation of the voluntary Scottish Pubs Governing Body (under the auspices of the Pub Governing Body)
  2. Supporting Scottish Communities by putting pubs at the heart of them
  3. Offering tenants greater flexibility to sell local beers & ales
  4. Funding the research and publication of an annual independent ‘State of the Nation’ report on the Scottish pub sector

Commenting on the launch, CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds OBE, said:

“I was delighted to welcome a good number of MSPs from across the parties at Holyrood to Kilderkin on the Royal Mile last night.

“As an industry, we are committed to supporting our tenants in running the best pubs in Scotland and this package of initiatives – which will be developed and built-on throughout the year – backs this up by providing a range of assistance. We are continually reviewing the support we provide, as we know our member businesses cannot prosper unless individual, local pubs also succeed.

“The initiatives include the creation of a new Scottish Pubs Governing Body (under the auspices of the Pub Governing Body) to build on the first ever bespoke Scottish Code of Practice launched in 2016. They also include greater support for communities with the potential for new services, such as Pub is the Hub, and greater flexibility to stock local products.

“Pubs still require the support of parliamentarians and governments to be successful though, and that is why we launched this with MSPs at the heart of Holyrood. The industry has faced an uphill battle in recent years with numerous pieces of legislation and regulations impacting the viability of running a successful pub.

“We need to make sure that any legislation that might impact our sector is carefully considered and with the support of MSPs we can continue to grow this industry, which supports 67,000 jobs and adds £1.66 billion to our economy every year.”

Industry Initiatives 2019 Document

Scottish Beer & Pub Association raises concerns over ‘Tourist Tax’

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Commenting on the announcement in the Scottish Budget that the Scottish Government are to bring forward legislation for Transient Visitor Levies, Brigid Simmonds, CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said:

“This move by the Scottish Government for a ‘Tourist Tax’ is of real concern to the beer and pub sector.

“In Scotland, our industry supports over 66,000 jobs and contributes £1.66bn to the economy annually – it is also a crucial part of the nation’s tourism offer, with a visit to a traditional pub ranking third on the list of things tourists do when they visit. Any impact on visitors will trickle down directly to our sector.

“Pubs have faced a number of challenges over the last decade and still face increasing and considerable tax pressures from a range of sources; particularly high beer duty, unfair business rates and VAT. Any introduction of a ‘Tourism Tax’ in Scotland would discourage visitors, see tourists having less money to spend during their visit and only add to the current challenges and uncertainty. Any introduction must therefore be accompanied by a reduction in tax elsewhere. The UK ranks almost bottom on any list on price competitiveness for tourists and unlike most countries in the EU does not offer reduced VAT on either accommodation or food.

“Scotland’s fantastic brewing industry has huge potential with some of the world’s great beers being produced right here. When tourists come to our pubs and sample our beer, they also go back home wanting to drink our beers which has helped grow our exports to record levels. Surely then we should be encouraging, rather than discouraging, tourists who visit and sometimes stay in one of Scotland’s many great pubs?

“On average, every pub contributes £100,000 to their local economy each year, and with tourism being such an important backbone to Scotland’s economy, a ‘Tourism Tax’ on one of the country’s most successful businesses would be bad news. The tax contribution of the hospitality industry in Scotland is extremely high. Introducing a tourist tax will be very detrimental and a disincentive for visitors.”