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  • SBPA comment on pub closure order by UK & Scottish Governments

    20 March 2020

    Commenting on the closure of pubs in Scotland this evening, Paul Togneri of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) said: “Both Scottish and UK Governments have been clear that pubs must now shut down. The safety and wellbeing of people is our priority and we stand ready to play our part in the fight against COVID-19, helping to protect our communities and employees. “As a sector employing nearly 68,000 people in Scotland, the Chancellor’s support package announced today on staff wages, combined with the support announced by the Finance Secretary to Holyrood earlier in the week, will safeguard thousands of livelihoods and help closed pubs try to get through this difficult period. “We stand ready to work with both Governments and Local Authorities to ensure that the support is accessible as fast as possible. There remain areas where we need further support to sustain our great brewing and pub sector through this difficult time, to ensure that all staff will have jobs to return to and to guarantee all pubs can reopen again when this crisis is over and continue to be at the heart of communities up and down the country.”

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  • SBPA welcome COVID-19 Business Support, Workers Must Be Next

    18 March 2020

    The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has welcomed the announcement this afternoon from the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture Fiona Hyslop of the £2.2bn worth of measures to support business, and the replication of measures announced by the Chancellor yesterday. Commenting, Paul Togneri of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association said: “The replication of the support that the Chancellor announced for businesses in England yesterday is very much welcomed by industry, and we commend the Scottish Government for the speed of their announcement. “Low-cost loans and business rates holidays are a positive step, but we now need immediate action to address the lack of cash in the beer and pub ecosystem. “For that we need an immediate announcement from the UK Government that they will guarantee that staff will be paid by underwriting at least 75% of wages. That is so companies can keep these staff on and easily reopen when the situation changes back to normal. “Mass and permanent pub closures are absolutely inevitable in a matter of days without a meaningful support package from the UK Government. Some pubs are already closing and there is no guarantee that they will ever reopen. “Another important step is quick access and distribution of the £10,000 and £25,000 grants. This can be done via pub owning companies who have capability and means to get the funding directly to the businesses that need it most. “These measures, alongside the immediate cancellation of duty payments due on 25th March and VAT payments due at the end of the month can stop critical cash leaving the system.”

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  • SBPA comments on Government advice to avoid pubs

    16 March 2020

    Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, commented: “The severity of the COVID-19 crisis is now impacting on Pubs with devastating effect. The very existence of hundreds of Scottish pubs and thousands of jobs now at risk. “Both the UK and Scottish governments needs to give clear instructions and detail on the support package to rescue the sector and hundreds of thousands of jobs. “Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity. Government action now will save thousands of jobs and save our pubs. “Support for pubs now is an investment in the long-term future of communities across the UK without it we risk losing our community assets forever.”

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  • Tackling alcohol harm focus at Holyrood as SBPA and SAIP host event

    26 February 2020

    Tackling alcohol harm was the focus of an event at Holyrood on Tuesday night, sponsored by Miles Briggs, MSP for Lothian. MSPs and other stakeholders, including police, the third sector, Alcohol & Drug Partnerships, government officials and representatives from the drinks industry, were given the chance to see for themselves the work being carried out across Scotland by the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership (SAIP). A new national campaign in partnership with Police Scotland aimed at tackling proxy purchase of alcohol by adults for children, and the creation of Community Alcohol Partnerships in communities across Scotland, were highlighted by the SAIP as key activities for the coming year. The SAIP was also pleased to announce its work with Drinkaware to support rollout of their ‘Drinkaware at work’ programme. In addition, over the coming year the SAIP will continue to work with Best Bar None Scotland to encourage uptake of the 125ml wine measure in the on-trade, and is providing funding to Street Assist for new equipment. A number of the organisations that the SAIP and its members work with were represented at the event, including Drinkaware, Community Alcohol Partnerships, Best Bar None, Street Assist, Alcohol Education Trust and the Scotch Whisky Action Fund. Miles Briggs, MSP for Lothian said: “This event was an engaging way to learn about the work that is going on across the country to tackle the harmful use of alcohol. I was particularly encouraged by the work being done by the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership and Police Scotland to tackle underage drinking.” Paul Johnson, Partnership Manager at Moray Alcohol and Drug Partnership, commented: “Partnership working is critical if we are to make a difference to the harmful use of alcohol.” Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said on behalf of the Partnership: “Our industry has an important role to play in encouraging moderate consumption and in tackling alcohol misuse. The event highlighted the range of initiatives being taken forward in partnership across the industry, in addition to work that many companies also do individually. It’s very encouraging to see the progress that these initiatives are making and the impact they are having in communities. We know there is more to do, and we are committed to ensuring that the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership goes from strength to strength.”

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  • SBPA joins with other leading industry associations in calling for retention of the Uniform Business Rate

    15 January 2020

    The SBPA and twenty-six other leading business representative groups and sectoral trade associations have written a joint letter to MSPs, urging them to vote to retain the Uniform Business Rate. The 27 organisations represent a wide cross section of Scottish industry including manufacturing, retail, property, tourism, hospitality and leisure. The collective call comes ahead of the final Stage 3 vote on the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, expected over the next few weeks. The text of the letter is as follows: Dear MSP, Retain the Uniform Business Rate We are writing to you ahead of Stage 3 of the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill to voice our alarm and shared concern over recently adopted amendments which seek to scrap the Uniform Business Rate and instead hand control over this £2.8 billion tax to each of the 32 local authorities to set their own poundage rate, rates reliefs, and any supplements or surcharges. Our ambition is for a competitive rates system and one that better reflects economic and trading conditions. It is why we have supported the thrust of the Bill. However, we are profoundly concerned with the abolition of the Uniform Business Rate and Scotland-wide rates reliefs, and the consistency and predictability they bring. We fear this could lead to higher business rates bills, at a time when the poundage rate is already at a 20-year high and with a further increase pencilled in for this Spring, and when businesses want to invest and grow the Scottish economy. We therefore urge you and fellow MSPs to overturn these amendments, which simply introduce fresh complexity, cost and unpredictability into the rates system, and which are at odds with the rates reform agenda of ensuring competitiveness and minimising complexity. We want Scotland to be a great place to do business. Retaining the Uniform Business Rate would be a positive step in the right direction. Your sincerely, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive, Scottish Beer & Pub Association James Lowman, Chief Executive, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Meryl Halls, Managing Director, Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive, The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) Tracy Black, Director, CBI Scotland Grahame Barn, Chief Executive, Civil Engineering Contractors Association Scotland (CECA) Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive, Company Chemists’ Association Andrew McRae, Scotland Policy Chair, Federation of Small Businesses David Thomson, Chief Executive, Food and Drink Federation Scotland Ian Cass, Managing Director, Forum of Private Business James Barnes, Chairman, The Horticultural Trades Association Hilary Hall, Chief Executive, National Hair & Beauty Federation Edward Cooke, Chief Executive, Revo Sara Thiam, Chief Executive, SCDI Karen Betts, Chief Executive, Scotch Whisky Association Alasdair Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Bakers Brian Rogan, Chair, Business Rates Advisory Group, Scottish Chambers of Commerce Paul Sheerin, Chief Executive, Scottish Engineering Dr Pete Cheema OBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) Colin Wilkinson, Managing Director, Scottish Licensed Trade Association David Melhuish, Director, Scottish Property Federation David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium Marc Crothall, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Alliance Colin Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Wholesale Association Miles Beale, Chief Executive, The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UK Cinema Association Willie Macleod, Executive Director, UKHospitality

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  • Committee Report Highlights Number of Questions for Government on Deposit Return Scheme

    10 December 2019

    Responding to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee’s report on the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers, the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) has said a number of key questions remain and challenged government to name a new date for implementation. Commenting, CEO of the SBPA Emma McClarkin said: “We welcome the publication of this report, which raises a number of questions for the Government to respond to before progressing with the final regulations. “We’ve been working closely with government in support of the introduction of a DRS, however we’re glad the committee has echoed some of our key concerns before committing both consumers and industry to this complex system. The report rightly highlights how the current 2021 deadline will be “very challenging”[1], with a number of considerations to be worked out in a very short space of time. “The government must now accept what industry has been saying for a number of months and provide an updated and more realistic time-frame for introduction. The last thing industry needs at this moment is added uncertainty. “The committee has also highlighted the importance of Scottish producers not being charged twice through the current Package Recovery Note (PRN) system. Similarly, the issue of the deposit being exempt from VAT needs to be confirmed ahead of the regulations being passed. “We now look forward to Government answering the many questions and issues highlighted in the report, the publication of the Full Business Case stage 2, which itself will provide important updated cost analysis, and an amended time-frame for delivering a successful, cost-effective DRS system for Scotland.”  

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