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  • The average 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 pub will receive just £2,700, compared to £11,300 for the average 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 pub. The Scottish Go…

    27 minutes ago @Scotbeerandpub

  • More misery for pubs as Labour proposal reaches next stage, despite tenants saying how damaging it is: “The Coron…

    6 days ago @Scotbeerandpub

  • RT @Scotbeerandpub: Operators speak out against 'economically ruinous' Tied Pubs Bill. MSPs must back the committee and defeat this propo…

    1 week ago @Scotbeerandpub

  • Welsh Pubs to Receive Four Times as Much Financial Support as Pubs in Scotland for Xmas Period

    03 December 2020

    The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has today (Thursday) called on the Scottish Government to save thousands of pubs and other hospitality businesses by ‘at least’ matching the level of economic support the Welsh Government has committed to their pubs.  Currently, the economic support afforded to the average Scottish pub stretches to just £2,700 for the six-week Christmas period, whilst the average pub in Wales will receive £11,300. Some pubs in Wales will be eligible for upwards of £17,000 in grant support, whilst Scottish pubs will struggle to survive this Christmas.  It is also understood that there will be no cap on multiple operators in Wales, something which the Scottish Government has included on previous grants. This resulted in many SMEs in the hospitality sector receiving reduced levels of support, putting more jobs at risk.   Commenting, CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Emma McClarkin, said:  "As a sector, hospitality businesses are on their knees and are desperately crying out for meaningful economic support. Whilst any grant is of course welcome, the current level of funding does not come close to covering fixed costs, even when closed. In order to support jobs, the Scottish Government needs to at least match the support offered to pub in Wales.   "Every day that passes without further economic support means that more pubs will stay closed for good and more jobs will be lost as a result. Pubs in Wales have been given a lifeline which we hope will now see most of their pubs reach the other side of the pandemic. Meanwhile, pubs in Scotland face devastation.  "The Scottish Government cannot delay any further and must now announce more support for the hospitality sector, which provides over 100,000 jobs in Scotland. They must also support the jobs of those workers that are employed by multiple operators. The current restriction on grant support means that hundreds of jobs are being put at additional risk, for no reason. Some pubs, if owned by multiple operators will receive absolutely nothing.     "If the Welsh Government can support hospitality jobs and businesses with this level of support, the Scottish Government must be able to provide at least equitable support. Without it, thousands of pubs likely stay closed for good." 

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  • More Misery for Pubs As MSPs’ Back ‘Unwanted, Unneeded and Economically Damaging’ Members Bill

    26 November 2020

    The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has expressed its disappointment at the decision by MSPs not to reject outright the highly damaging Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill, saying that more red tape and uncertainty is the last thing the industry needs at this time. The vote – which ignores the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work committees’ recommendations and the independent CGA study – risks burdening pubs with additional red tape and creating extra costs for both pubs and taxpayer. Commenting, CEO of the SBPA Emma McClarkin said: “This decision today is absolutely devastating for the industry and comes at the worst possible time.  This Bill is completely unwanted, unneeded and economically damaging. It does nothing to support the sector, whilst it’s going through the biggest crisis it has ever faced. “We will of course work constructively with MSPs of all parties at Stage 2, however there should be no doubt; by voting for this proposal, MSPs have added an enormous amount of uncertainty for business, which will only result in pub operators losing out on much-needed investment. “Unless fundamental changes are made at Stage 2, pubs in Scotland now face being at a severe disadvantage to pubs elsewhere in the UK, risking the pace of recovery as we look to come out of the Covid crisis. Tied tenants are rightly questioning why politicians are focusing on punishing them with more regulation and red tape, when the industry is already on its knees.  “It’s especially surprising MSPs have decided to back this Bill, as no meaningful evidence has been provided to indicate a problem. A Scottish Code is already in place for pub tenants, which has only received one single complaint against it since its launch four years ago.   “The Economy Committee’s report also concluded that there was no evidence of a need for legislation. “The only independent study into the issue, commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2016, is also being ignored. It is quite clear that this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. MSPs will need to explore in the detail the technical feasibility of this proposal, the legality of such an intervention into contract law and show clearly why taxpayer money should be spent on setting above an expensive public body to oversee this code.” Pub tenants, whom the Bill seeks to ‘support’, are also unhappy with the proposals. Speaking ahead of the vote, Andrena Bowes, who runs eight pubs across Edinburgh, the Lothians’ and Fife said: “The Coronavirus has devastated the pub sector and politicians should be focused on that, not wasting time on proposals which aren’t wanted and definitely not needed. “As a tenant under the tied model, I can speak personally of its success and joint-partnership model, which sees a sharing of the rewards and responsibilities.   “During the pandemic, my pub company has provided constant advice, support, reimbursement for unusable stock and have also written off rent, which without would have forced us to close our doors for good.   “The news that this proposal is even being considered in light of the pandemic makes you want to cry. Hospitality businesses are begging for meaningful economic support that could save their livelihoods and jobs of their staff, and politicians are wasting time discussing technical rules which impacts a tiny minority of pubs.  “Above all, pubs need certainty, but Neil Bibby’s Bill removes what little certainty we had at this time.”

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  • Tied Pubs Bill Would Destroy Investment at Most Crucial Time say Operators

    19 November 2020

    The Scottish Beer and Pub Association is today (Thursday) calling on MSPs to reject the proposed Tied Pubs Bill when it is voted on one week today. Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: "This Bill is not evidence-based, and far from helping Scotland's pubs, it poses a real danger to future investment in the sector, entrepreneurship opportunities, threatens jobs and it should be resoundingly rejected by MSPs. "Covid-19 has decimated the pub sector in Scotland. Pubs directly support over 45,000 jobs in Scotland and many of them face an uncertain future as they struggle to get back on their feet and adapt to the changing circumstances that Covid-19 presents. "Pubs need support from MSPs, not legislation that misunderstands the Scottish market and has already been found to be unnecessary by an independent report commissioned by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament's Economy Committee. "The fact is, this Bill was ill conceived before Covid-19, but it would be economically ruinous to the sector if it was passed in the current circumstances and it is vital that all MSPs show their support for Scottish pubs by voting this Bill down at Stage 1." Pubs tenants have also urged MSPs to save their pubs by voting AGAINST the Tied Pubs Bill. Operator Andrena Bowes, who is tenant and operator of seven pubs in the Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife said: “The coronavirus has devastated the pub sector and politicians should be focused on that, not wasting time on proposals which aren’t wanted and definitely not needed. “As a tenant under the tied model, I can speak personally of its success and joint-partnership model, which sees a sharing of the risks and rewards. “During the pandemic, my pub company has provided constant advice, support, reimbursement for unusable stock and have also reduced rent, which without would have forced us to close our doors for good. “The news that this proposal is even being considered in light of the pandemic makes you want to cry. Hospitality businesses are begging for meaningful economic support that could save their livelihoods and jobs of their staff, and politicians are wasting time discussing technical rules which impacts a tiny minority of pubs. “Above all, pubs need certainty, but Neil Bibby’s bill removes what little certainty we have at this time. MSPs can give a little bit back by voting against the Tied Pubs Bill next week. “MSPs of all parties need to stop playing politics and start saving pubs.” Pointing to the unintended consequences of the proposal, tenant and pub operator with premises across Central Scotland, Craig McLaughlin added: “The Tied Pubs Bill would be disastrous for pubs in Scotland and it comes at the worst possible time as the industry is already on its knees. “The whole hospitality industry needs stability, certainty and investment right now. This bill offers none of these. Investing in pubs is absolutely critical to their survival. This bill not only ensures that much needed investment programmes stop, it also adds layers of additional costs and bureaucracy to an already overburdened trade. “One particular area that I would see under immediate pressure is that of safety and compliance. All businesses take the safety of staff and customers very seriously, however as an unintended consequence this bill will shift the responsibility to the tenant to ensure regulations are adhered to. “At present, the burden on compliance and legally required checks such as emergency lighting, fire equipment, gas safety, electrical inspections and maintenance, all fall to the landlord to ensure that the site is safe for trading. These companies have networks and the resources to track and complete works. “Under the Free of Tie model, the tenant of the property is required to take on these responsibilities, meaning a fragmented approach to health and safety, resulting in things falling through the cracks as small operators don’t have the capacity or resources to deal with the ever-increasing compliance requirements. “It has been my experience from my many years in the trade, that some Free of Tie pubs fell short of the basic health and safety standards, sometimes due to a lack of understanding of their obligations and in other cases not having the funds to do so. “I understand MSP’s are not familiar with the inner workings of this industry. Those who vote for the bill next week would, albeit inadvertently, be responsible for the loss of jobs as a result. “Don’t impose legislation that is neither wanted nor required.”

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  • SBPA Respond to Further Restrictions on Pubs

    07 October 2020

    Further restrictions will deliver a ‘knockout blow’ for many pubs – thousands of pubs, jobs and livelihoods at severe risk Responding to the new restrictive measures announced by the First Minister and Scottish Government this afternoon (Wednesday), the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) have said that the £40million of economic support offered is unlikely to save many businesses. It says thousands of jobs are now at high risk not just in the pub and hospitality sector, but across the wider supply chain. Commenting, CEO of the SBPA, Emma McClarkin said: “These harsh new restrictions will deliver a knockout blow for many of Scotland’s much-loved pubs and the communities they serve. We entirely understand and appreciate the difficult situation of the government and the need to continue to take measures to suppress the virus, but we question the fairness and wisdom of these restrictions and the level of financial support available to help our sector through this. “As the first minister acknowledged, the pub and wider hospitality industry has worked incredibly hard, going above and beyond in implementing measures to provide safe and regulated places for communities to socialise in. We therefore question the proportionality of the 16-day total ban on alcohol consumption indoors in every pub and hospitality venue across Scotland, resulting in the loss of many pubs’ primary income stream. This is in addition to the total closure of all pubs and hospitality venues in the central belt of Scotland. “Pubs across the country provide a safe regulated environment for people to socialise in, but also increasingly as a space to work or study. The small number which can continue to operate with these restrictions will do so, but unfortunately without an ability to sell any alcohol, most are unlikely to be viable. “The financial support on offer is of course welcome, but it does not go nearly far enough. For the majority of premises, the available funds will not even come close to covering the required furlough contributions for the period, never mind ongoing fixed costs and stock. We need to review the financial support on offer and work with government to protect as many pubs, jobs and livelihoods as possible. “We also must not overlook the impact this will have on brewers, who have already seen around 50% of their on-trade business disappear this year. The knock-on effect of these new restrictions will be felt keenly among Scotland’s brewers. As a result, there will now likely be further redundancies and jobs lost within our sector. Nick MacKenzie, CEO of Greene King, which has 240 pubs in Scotland and 2500 employees, said: “Today’s shut-down of Scottish pubs is a devastating blow for the thousands of people who work in the industry. We understand that decisive action needs to be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We have invested millions of pounds in ensuring that our pubs are safe and only had six Test and Protect requests from NHS Scotland in total across our 125 managed pubs since we reopened on 15 July, having served millions of customers. It is time to stop unfairly targeting pubs. “The sector has already seen pub closures and job losses and a second shut-down will see more closures and lost jobs in every Scottish community. We welcome the acknowledgement that support is needed but are concerned that £40m won’t go far enough and urgently need to understand the detail and the speed this can be deployed.”

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  • SBPA Responds to Speculation of Further Restrictions for Hospitality Sector

    06 October 2020

    'Further restrictions must be avoided or at very least accompanied by additional economic support – thousands of jobs at risk’   Responding to speculation of further harsh restrictive measures being announced by the Scottish Government tomorrow (Wednesday), the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) have said that thousands of jobs will be put at risk if more restrictions are implemented without consultation, notice and additional economic support for the sector.     Commenting, CEO of the SBPA, Emma McClarkin said:    “The prospect of further restrictions on pubs is filling our sector with complete dread. Across Scotland, pub operators will be unable to sleep tonight for fear of what will happen to their business and their staff. This must be avoided.   “Pubs and the wider hospitality sector in Scotland are already suffering from the additional restrictive measures currently in place. The ban on background music and noise from televisions has already seen trade fall of a cliff for many premises, and the 10pm curfew has had a disproportionate impact in Scotland due to the normal closing time being midnight or 1am. This means that every week Scottish pubs are losing as many as 21 hours more trade than pubs elsewhere in the UK.   “If the Scottish Government is to implement further harsh restrictive measures to our sector, it must include a dedicated package of support alongside it. Without it the Scottish Government will leave our pubs and thousands of jobs doomed to failure.   “We are unaware of any data which shows that the hospitality sector is a major cause of transmission. Pubs across the country have risen to the challenges posed by COVID-19, putting in place rigorous cleaning regimes and countless protective measures making pubs a safe and regulated place to socialise.     “Scotland’s pubs are already on the brink. Further restrictive measures, whether complete closure or further restrictions of hours, without economic support, would mean hundreds of businesses closing for good with thousands of jobs lost and livelihoods ruined.” 

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  • Music ban means Scottish Pubs could close

    27 August 2020

    The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has today said the ban on background music is having a devastating impact on the country’s pubs, with increased likelihood of closures and job losses as a direct result of the policy. It is urging the Scottish Government to reverse its ban on music and sound from TV in pubs, to help boost their businesses as they try to recover post-lockdown. The Scottish Government updated its guidance covering the sector on the 14th August to ban hospitality premises from playing music, including background music and sound from a TV. The policy has had a severe impact on Scottish pubs, with some seeing an immediate drop in trade of over 20% since the ban came in – on top of the fall in trade they are already facing as they recover post-lockdown. SBPA CEO Emma McClarkin said: “The ban on music and sound from TV in pubs has seen trade plummet across Scotland, to the point where it is simply not viable to stay open. Takings are down as much as 20% since the ban came in. “Not only is it hammering the recovery of our sector, but there is evidence to suggest the policy is having the opposite of its desired effect. A lack of commentary at football matches makes it harder to control customers watching the game. Customers seeking privacy in their conversations are more likely to lean in and whisper. Rather than go to their local, people are gathering at home where safety measures are not in place. “There is an easy middle ground to be had here, where responsible pubs can be allowed to create an atmosphere and ambience that makes them what they are, whilst controlling noise to a level which doesn’t require customers to shout. “Music adds to the ambience and atmosphere of the pub. Without music our venues are losing more of their soul.” Louise MacLean from Signature Pubs based in Edinburgh said: “The music ban is having a direct impact on our business and in some venues trade is moving in the wrong direction. We strictly adhere to all social distancing and the restrictions to trade which has affected the atmosphere in bars prior to the music ban. Customers don’t want to go to venues that are silent and awkward so inevitably our takings are down. “We understand the concern about noise but we would happily work with Scottish Government officials and set decibel levels to create a welcoming atmosphere within acceptable limits. Otherwise the future for bars in Scotland looks bleak as autumn approaches and inside spaces become more important. “Hospitality denotes warmth, ambiance and welcome not cold, clinical and sterile. Let the (soft) music play! We can do this safely.”

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