SLTA: Gov move is ‘really good news’ for on-trade

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Welcome news: SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson says its suggestions are being taken on board
Welcome news: SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson says its suggestions are being taken on board

Related tags Legislation Government Finance

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has welcomed the Scottish government’s move to take action on non-domestic rates, foster closer collaboration with businesses and set up a review board in its New Deal for Business Group.

SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson commented: “This is really good news for the licensed trade and hospitality industry and we’re delighted that first minister Humza Yousaf has taken on board suggestions from the business community, including the SLTA, which has already fed into the New Deal for Business Group.

“Hospitality needs improved regulation that is more flexible for businesses and it’s imperative we are involved in all discussions so we don’t encounter the same problems that we did with the deposit return scheme (DRS)​.

“One good example of how we can work together with the Scottish government is the outdated non-domestic rates system, which is now under review, although we urge changes to be implemented sooner rather than later.”

Keen to engage

Wilkinson continued: “We previously welcomed the first minister’s announcement that he would send the proposed restrictions to alcohol promotion and marketing ‘back to the drawing board’ and we would be keen to engage in further discussions about that soon.

“This renewed engagement with businesses gives the licensed trade and hospitality sector hope at a time when many are struggling to survive, find staff, and meet the costs of soaring utility bills.

“Businesses in cities, towns and villages across Scotland need support if they are to be part of efforts to rejuvenate communities, boost economic growth and create jobs.”

Goals outlined

Recommendations from the New Deal for Business Group include:

  • Setting up a new independent Regulatory Review Group to work with industry and government on a renewed remit
  • Featuring non-domestic rates among the wider considerations of a new tax advisory group
  • Ensuring the right voices are heard in engagement with business about policy
  • Working on labour market participation with a focus on supporting parents into employment and the skills businesses need for a transition to net zero
  • Gathering data on the type of support businesses are searching for, to help government better understand their needs.

Wellbeing economy secretary Neil Gray said: “The Scottish government is listening to business and is committed to taking forward these recommendations to deliver a wellbeing economy with sustainability and fairness at its heart that allows business – and in turn society – to thrive.”

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