Hundreds of pub jobs at risk

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Some 500 jobs are on the line after one of Scotland’s oldest pub operators called in the administrators.

Maclay Group, which has been in business since 1830 and owns sites including the Southsider in Edinburgh and the Three Judges in Glasgow, has been suffering financial difficulties for some time.

The announcement came on the day that the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said more needed to be done to save pubs from closing after new figures showed that 29 were shutting every week across the UK.

Alloa-based Maclay said as no solution had emerged to its financial difficulties, the directors had decided to call in administrators in order to “protect the employment of its 500 staff and the business which remains profitable”.

Administrators from EY will now run the business which comprises 15 pubs and bars across central Scotland with a view to a sale.

Other pubs the group operates include the Bank and Lansdowne Bar in Glasgow; the Tullie Inn, Balloch; Braes, Dundee; East Port Bar, Dunfermline, and The Rule in St Andrews.

Last August the company had reported a 6 per cent rise in average profit per pub and a £500,000 reduction in its debt.

The company, which has only belonged to three families during its history, was founded by James Maclay in Alloa in 1830. In 1870 he built the Thistle Brewery, which remained Maclay’s headquarters until early 2001 when brewing ceased and the company refocused on its portfolio of pubs.

Camra said the 29 pub closures across the UK every week compared with 31 in the first few months of 2014 and 28 in 2013.

The total is almost twice as many as the 16 pubs which closed every week in 2011.