SLTA calls for 'urgent reset' from new SNP leader

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Weighed down: SLTA congratulates Humza Yousaf on SNP leadership win and calls for 'urgent reset' from Scotland's new First Minister (Pictured: SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson)
Weighed down: SLTA congratulates Humza Yousaf on SNP leadership win and calls for 'urgent reset' from Scotland's new First Minister (Pictured: SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson)

Related tags Scotland Legislation Government

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has “congratulated” Humza Yousaf on his appointment as the new leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

However, the association urged Scotland’s new First Minister to enact an “urgent reset” in the relationship between the Scottish Government and business community.

SLTA​ managing director Colin Wilkinson said: “Hospitality businesses and the licensed trade make a major contribution to Scotland’s economy and its important tourism industry, we are also a major employer across the length and breadth of the country.

Still recovering 

“However, companies are weighed down by ill-thought-through legislation at a time when they are still recovering from the pandemic, dealing with severe staff shortages and struggling with the realities of spiralling cost-of-living issues and rising costs of doing business.”

Yousaf was announced as the new Scottish First Minister yesterday (Monday 27 March) following Nicola Sturgeon’s​ resignation last month.

The ballot, which used the single transferable vote system, saw a 70% turnout from the 72,169 SNP members eligible to participate.

Yousaf, who is currently Scotland’s health secretary, failed to win a majority in the first preference vote but ultimately succeeded Sturgeon with a 52.1% majority in the second preference vote.

Ongoing problems 

Wilkinson added: “We urge Mr Yousaf to pause the deposit return scheme (DRS​) until a more business-friendly solution can be found for those smaller businesses that will have to deal with the time-consuming bureaucracy and unnecessary layers of administration.

“In addition, we would seek dialogue at the earliest opportunity to discuss the proposed restrictions on alcohol advertising sponsorship which will impact on many everyday aspects of pub life.”
The managing director continued a reduction in VAT “would be a welcome move” and expressed “hope” for a new regime at Holyrood to find “meaningful solutions” to the current non-domestic rates system.  

He concluded: “We pledge to work with [the minister’s] new Cabinet, officials and MSPs to solve the many ongoing problems and challenges facing the licensed trade as it recovers from the pandemic, deals with the fallout of Brexit, and navigates unprecedented levels of bureaucracy and misplaced legislation that is hampering business growth.”

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