SLTA welcomes Scottish leader’s pledge to help sector

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Moving forward: SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson (left) says the early signs from John Swinney (right) are encouraging
Moving forward: SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson (left) says the early signs from John Swinney (right) are encouraging

Related tags Colin Wilkinson Government Economy Finance

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has welcomed news that Scotland’s new First Minister John Swinney’s vow that growing the economy will be one of his four priorities.

The move comes after former First Minister Humza Yousaf pledged to work with the business community and implement a reset in the relationship between the Scottish government and businesses.

SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said: “This is excellent news for the licensed trade and hospitality businesses and Scotland’s wider business community.

Positive step-change

“We are ready to speak to Mr Swinney and cabinet secretary for economy Kate Forbes and working with the Scottish government to help guide policy and strategy for the benefit of businesses in the licensed hospitality and tourism industry.

“As we have previously highlighted, there are myriad problems and challenges facing what is one of the biggest employers in Scotland and these early signs that Mr Swinney’s government wants to understand and work with our sector is a positive step-change following the chaotic handling of the deposit return scheme (DRS)​ and misplaced legislation that burdens businesses in red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy.”

Wilkinson added the sector wants to see progress on the delivery of the Scottish government’s New Deal for Business and reiterate the SLTA’s key ask of the new regime at Holyrood is to work with them to find a “meaningful solution to change the current non-domestic rates system, which is particularly unfair to licensed hospitality businesses, hugely outdated and in need of reform”.

VAT reduction ask

He said while the sector accepts VAT is not a devolved issue, a reduction in VAT would be a “welcome move for everyone involved in hospitality and the licensed trade”.

Wilkinson added: “We hope Holyrood and Westminster can discuss this as an urgent measure to help businesses in this important sector given our major contribution to Scotland’s economy and its important tourism industry.

“As our members continue to face significant barriers to running their businesses, including staff shortages, the pressure of higher costs and the cost-of-living crisis, we are committed to working and collaborating with the Scottish government to help create a healthy, growing economy for the benefit of all.”

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