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    Scotland’s pubs and bars face ‘continued barrage of economic challenges’

    SLTA spokesman Paul Waterson

    Sector calls for increased government support to protect the hospitality industry

    The (SLTA) Scottish Licensed Trade Association has released a snapshot survey of the challenges facing Scotland’s pubs, bars and hospitality venues.

    The summer survey, which covers the full spectrum of hospitality business including restaurants, bars and hotels, contains key insights into the significant impacts of a sustained wave of macro and micro economic challenges with outlets struggling to fill vacancies and simultaneously dealing with a continued wave of cost increases.

    “Our sector plays a critical role in Scotland’s food and drink strategy and our survey highlights huge challenges in recruiting skilled staff,” said SLTA media spokesman Paul Waterson. “Some 68 per cent of our respondents are operating with staff vacancies, and this has a domino impact on opening hours, the economic viability of our businesses, and our role as a key part of Scotland’s tourism industry.

    “Our survey is based upon quantitative research from outlets covering the length and breadth of the country and is supported by major food and drink chains and independent pubs, bars and hotels in Scotland’s hospitality sector.

    “We have still not recovered from lockdown, and 58 per cent of our respondents are still trading below pre-Covid levels with two-thirds expecting the economy to decline in the next 18 months. In addition, 77 per cent of members are seeing continued increases in utility charges and 95 per cent see supplier costs rising.”

    Mr Waterson added: “In previous surveys we warned that it wouldn’t be economically viable for many outlets to remain open, and we are now seeing this come to fruition with a worrying nine per cent of outlets either planning to close or considering options.

    “Scotland’s pubs and bars face a continued barrage of economic challenges and we call on the UK and Scottish governments to assist us in dealing with these challenges.”

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