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Business Rates – SBPA welcomes cap, which should save pubs £6 million

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The Scottish Beer and Pub Association has welcomed the one year cap on business rate increases in Scotland for the hospitality sector, at 12.5 per cent, as announced by the Scottish Government.

The SBPA had urged the Scottish Finance Secretary Derek MacKay to introduce the cap, following concerns over the impact of the revaluation of business rates on some Scottish pub businesses.

The SBPA’s analysis suggests that the cap will save Scottish pubs around £6 million, with pubs standing to benefit by an average of £4,700.

Despite welcoming the move, the SBPA stresses the importance of ensuring that the Scottish Government delivers clarity for the sector in year two and beyond, after the expiry of the cap, as some Scottish pub businesses are set to see their rateable value increase by much more than 12.5 per cent.

Clarity is also needed, the SBPA says, over whether Scottish pubs that saw their rateable value increase, but which were previously paying no business rates at all, will be liable to pay business rates under the new cap.

Currently, for every £1,000 of turnover, the hospitality sector in Scotland pays over £30 in business rates. This is over three times more than every other sector, and 258 per cent higher than the average. Whilst welcoming the Scottish Government’s announcement, the SBPA also reiterated its support for the continued work of the Barclay Review, which has been set up to develop a sustainable business rates system that does not disadvantage the Scottish pub sector.

Brigid Simmonds, SBPA Chief Executive, comments:

“The introduction of a business rates cap, set at 12.5 per cent, is welcome, and shows that the Scottish Government has listened to the concerns of Scottish pubs and other hospitality businesses. Scottish pubs fall under the same methodology as hotels for business rates, being assessed on hypothetical turnover, as opposed to square footage, and so it is right that the cap should cover the broader hospitality sector.

“Pubs pay a disproportionate share of business rates in Scotland, and some pubs were facing huge increases with bills due to go out in just a few days time. Whilst we appreciate action from the Scottish Government, they must go further, and offer the sector clarity on what happens after the one year cap expires.

“This cap will give the Scottish Government an opportunity to reflect on how business rates in Scotland work for the pub sector. We need a system of relief that is specifically tailored to help Scottish pubs, and so continue to offer our support to the ongoing Barclay Review.”

Diageo’s Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship Begins Search


Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship – a game-changing opportunity!

The award-winning Diageo Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship programme with Entrepreneurial Scotland, has launched a search to find Scotland’s most ambitious and entrepreneurially-minded individual from the licensed trade to secure a fully-funded place on Entrepreneurial Scotland’s prestigious Saltire Fellowship Leadership Development Programme.

Widely-regarded as the premier international learning opportunity for ambitious individuals, the Saltire Fellowship is ideally-suited for someone who is ready to take the next step in their career and to transform the business they work in.

Established in 2010, The Saltire Fellowship has an enviable track record with more than 100 individuals successfully completing the rigorous programme. They include inspiring high potential individuals from a wide range of sectors including the drinks industry, tech, life sciences, Government and the third sector.

The value to the successful candidate is more than £30,000 worth of intensive leadership development in a dynamic learning environment in the USA and Scotland, including a programme of visits to leading businesses in Silicon Valley.

Led by Entrepreneurial Scotland in partnership with Babson College in Boston, USA – the top rated business US business school for entrepreneurship – and  Strathclyde Business School at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, which was named UK Business School of the Year by the Times Higher Education.

The Saltire Fellowship will be fully-funded by the award-winning Diageo Learning for Life programme. The six month, world class leadership development programme is designed to grow and connect the talent driving the Scottish economy.

Commenting on the news, Mark Baird, Head of Alcohol in Society Diageo GB said; “At Diageo we understand the importance of giving high potential individuals the right opportunity at the right moment in their careers. This is a time of unprecedented change for the drinks industry so it has never been more important for the leaders in our sector to learn from the best and be equipped to grow their businesses.

“Entrepreneurial Scotland, through the Saltire Fellowship, offers candidates a truly world class experience to become more entrepreneurial and to build a highly prized international network of connections and support that will last a lifetime. I urge everyone who is passionate about working in the licensed trade in Scotland to explore this amazing once in a lifetime opportunity to take your career and your business to a new level.”

Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Chief Executive, Sandy Kennedy said; “I know how transformative the Saltire Fellowship has been for both individuals and the businesses they work in. The food and drink sector is hugely important to Scotland and we are delighted to be working with Diageo Learning for Life to identify someone who can seize this opportunity to take the business they work in to another level.

“Our team is keen to hear from anyone who thinks it might be right for them. Get in touch – this could be the call or email that truly changes your life.”

Les Charm, Senior Lecturer, Academic Division: Entrepreneurship at Babson said: “At Babson we make you think big and this programme is designed to change people’s lives by helping them acquire new skills and mind steps in order that they and their companies move forward.”

Eleanor Shaw, Head of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Vice Dean (External Engagement and Entrepreneurship) at Strathclyde Business School, said:

“At Strathclyde Business School, we understand the importance of supporting high potential individuals to identify and exploit the right opportunity at the right moment in their careers. The Saltire Fellowship offers candidates a truly world class experience to become more entrepreneurial and to build a highly prized international network of connections and support that will last a lifetime.”

The Diageo L4LSaltire Fellowship includes:

  • 8 weeks in a dynamic learning environment at Babson College, Boston (the top-rated US Business School for Entrepreneurship) where Fellows and Faculty work together to address real world business challenges
  • hands-on experience through US company visits, challenges and pitching competitions
  • a learning journey to Silicon Valley, where you will gain a deeper understanding of its unique entrepreneurial ecosystem, entrepreneurs and investors
  • 2 weeks residential learning delivered in Scotland in partnership with  Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde
  • managerial and leadership experience by working for 12 weeks with a high growth enterprise or re-integrate into your business

Shortlisted candidates will have the opportunity to share their ideas with an impressive panel of judges in April including:

  • Mark Baird, Head of Alcohol in Society Diageo GB. Mark is also President of The Scottish Beer and Pub Association and advisor to the SLTA
  • Sandy Kennedy, Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland
  • Peter Lederer CBE, an expert in Leisure, Travel and Tourism
  • Gillian McKenzie, Editor of Scottish Licensed Trade News
  • Paul Waterson, Chief Executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association

The successful Diageo Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship candidate will join a group of around 20 other individuals from a range of sectors important to Scotland’s economy. Already more than 100 people have registered interest for the 2017-18 Fellowship programme.

Key dates for those interested in applying are:

19 January 2017 Diageo Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship Launch
5 March  2017 Applications close 
10 – 24 March  2017 Shortlisting / Assessment 
31 March  2017 Shortlisted Candidates Notified 
11 April  2017 Diageo Learning for Life Saltire Fellowship  – Judging Day 

The Saltire Fellowship programme schedule is:


More information can be found at:

Those interested should email their CV and a letter to:

Or to find out more phone Michael McCourt on: 0141 548 4417

The closing date for applications is 5 March 2017

For more information on Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Saltire Fellowship

Get involved in our efforts to #cutbeertax!


Social media graphics and animations to support this year’s #cutbeertax campaign for Budget 2017 are now available for all to use.

Each message has an accompanying shareable static image, and in some cases short animations that can be accessed by clicking the “download creative” button on each slide. The BBPA has also set up a dedicated DropBox folder where various versions for Twitter, Facebook or Instagram can be downloaded directly.

The slides are divided into a series of groups; key messages, pubs, beer duty, and are designed to make the content as easily accessible as possible.

The social media assets can be viewed and downloaded here.
For more information on why we are campaigning to cut beer tax, please click here.
To view the dedicated #cutbeertax website, please click here.

Mark Baird hosts first official engagement as new SBPA president


The Scottish Beer & Pub Association’s new President, Diageo’s Mark Baird – who succeeded HEINEKEN’s David Paterson – has held his first official engagement in the role.

The evening saw the SBPA and joint-host, Gordon MacDonald MSP welcome Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), their staff, journalists and industry stakeholders to the Kilderkin pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, to celebrate beer and pubs in the country, at the packed-out event.

In his speech, Mark highlighted the importance of the industry, not only to Scotland’s economy but also to its heritage, culture and identity. He repeated SBPA calls for greater support for the industry, highlighting the recent record investment by SBPA members in their operations in Scotland. 

New SBPA President Mark Baird comments:

“I am delighted to be taking on this role and this was a fantastic event to kick it off. Scotland faces many policy challenges and our sector plays a central role in the Scottish economy, with almost 60,000 Scottish jobs reliant on beer and pubs. Our challenge is to ensure that the priorities of Scottish brewing and pubs remain at the top of the policy agenda.

“The event last week at Kilderkin did exactly that, allowing our members a chance to directly communicate with MSPs in a relaxed environment, while also serving as a networking event. Holding the event outside the Scottish Parliament campus and in a pub also allowed us to showcase the industry at its best, and served as a literal example of the investment by the industry.

“It’s also important to note the huge contribution that former President David Paterson has made over the last two years. In that time, the industry and association has gone through immeasurable changes. David’s leadership has been a key driver in getting the association and industry into the position it is today.”

Former SBPA President David Paterson comments:

“Mark is already well known to stakeholders across the on and off trade and brings a great deal of expertise to the role of President.  It’s been a real pleasure working with him over the past few years and I know that he has a strong agenda going forward to showcase the positive impact of beer and pubs across Scotland.  He will play an important role in bringing all those with an interest in our great industry together to focus on the real issues during these uncertain times.  I congratulate Mark and we all very much look forward to working with him as our new SBPA President.”