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Industry Heavyweights Pen COVID-19 Letter to Scottish Government

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Industry Heavyweights Pen COVID-19 Letter to Scottish Government

Industry Heavyweights Pen COVID-19 Letter to Scottish Government
May 20
11:38 2020

Several chefs and restaurateurs have outlined measures they say could prevent mass business closures and redundancies in the Scottish hospitality sector following the COVID-19 crisis.

A letter to Nicola Sturgeon, the group refers to the issues around social distancing measures in the hospitality trade and the long-term impact such measures could have if more support is not provided.

Signatory, Roy Brett

The group includes Nick Nairn, Martin Wishart, CIS Excellence Awards Board member Roy Brett (pictured left), Dale Dewsbury, Tom Lewis, James Thomson (Owner of Prestonfield and The Witchery, pictured above), Peter Lederer and hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray.

Calling for the furlough scheme to be extended until early next year, the letter also outlines demands for: a year-long rent holiday and rent reductions for as long as social distancing is a requirement in venues; an extension of the business rates holiday until June 2021; the development of a Quality Assurance Scheme to communicate the safety measures taken by the trade to protect customers; a fund for businesses to recoup the loss of income from overseas travellers; and a VAT reduction covering the period from when trade resumes until mid-2022.

The letter states: ‘The emerging road maps which allow the nation to unlock present us with real concern about our long-term future.

‘Put simply, social distancing simply does not work in most restaurants, bars and hotels. People visit to enjoy a memorable experience with a high level of service and personal interaction, and this could never be achieved if staff had to maintain strict social distancing and wear PPE.’

‘Hospitality already operates on a high cost base. In recent years we have faced additional spending including rent hikes, increased food and beverage costs, the new National Living Wage and higher business rates.

‘Social distancing will result in revenue drops that will make most businesses unsustainable. There is also worrying evidence suggesting many people don’t feel it is safe to eat out and will avoid visiting us even after lock-down is lifted.

‘We are desperate to be back in business, employing people, supporting our world-class producers and suppliers, paying taxes and enhancing Scotland’s worldwide reputation for food, drink and hospitality but we can only do this with your support.’

 

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Catering Scotland

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