SLTA – rail strike will contribute to ‘perfect storm’ for Scottish hospitality

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Warning issued: SLTA MD Colin Wilkinson wants governments to step in
Warning issued: SLTA MD Colin Wilkinson wants governments to step in

Related tags Finance Health and safety Legislation Social responsibility

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has warned the upcoming UK-wide rail strike scheduled to take place next week could be “very serious” for the trade as it works to recover from the pandemic and could lead to a “perfect storm” this summer.

SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson cautioned that greatly reduced train services would also potentially impact on staff and public safety.

“To put it bluntly, the hospitality sector just can’t take any more,” said Mr Wilkinson. “Businesses are slowly recovering after the pandemic and just when most are feeling optimistic for the first time and looking forward to a good summer, along comes a national rail strike that will deter people from travelling into our towns and cities.”

People won’t go out

He continued: “If there are no trains or if the last train home is 6.30pm, people won’t bother going out at all and who can blame them – nobody wants to be worrying about how they will get home after meeting friends in the pub, enjoying dinner, attending an event or going to a nightclub.

“There’s also the safety aspect to consider as every business and venue wants to ensure that their staff and customers can get home safely late at night – many rely on trains to get home.”

Wilkinson urged the UK and Scottish governments to intervene and cited a study from Barclays Corporate Banking published on Thursday called ‘UK Hospitality’s Next Challenge’ said the hospitality and leisure sector’s post-pandemic recovery could be severely hampered by the cost-of-living crisis and a widespread lack of staff.

Utility bills spike by 36%

It revealed hospitality and leisure businesses in Scotland have said their utility bills have already spiked by 36% year-on-year on average while more than nine in 10 (96%) hospitality and leisure businesses in Scotland are struggling to recruit personnel.

“With soaring utility bills and other cost increases, serious staffing issues and now disruption on the railways, this summer is shaping up to be a ‘perfect storm’ for Scotland’s hospitality businesses,” said Mr Wilkinson.

The SLTA represents independent licensed trade establishments and personal licence holders, and represent all sectors of the licensed trade, including pubs, hotels, restaurants, off-sales and late-night premises in Scotland.

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