Hospitality trade bodies urge Holyrood to include pubs and bars in plans to relax outdoor seating rules

The Scottish Government is being urged by three major Scottish hospitality trade bodies not to exclude pubs from proposals that would see premises like restaurants have greater flexibility with on-street seating.

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, and UKHospitality Scotland have teamed up in their call in their submissions to the Scottish Government’s consultation regarding plans to permit outdoor restaurant seating without a planning application but excluding pubs or bars.

Paul Togneri of the SBPA said: “In normal times, the [pubs and bars] sector is a powerhouse of the Scottish economy, contributing £1.4 billion annually and supporting 54,000 jobs. In addition, every local pub creates on average £100,000 every year for their local economies.

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"To get the sector and city centres thriving again post-Covid, we need support, and this sort of change can be a huge boost to thousands of [small and medium-sized enterprises across the country.”

SLTA MD Colin Wilkinson said the organisation fully supports measures to help revive hospitality firms and town and city centres, but believes the proposals must cover all licensed hospitality businesses. “The current exclusion of pubs and bars from the Permitted Development Rights proposal, in our view, is nothing short of discriminatory,” he added.

"Our sector is extremely envious of the recent development in England where hospitality venues can now benefit from the ability to erect a non-permanent outdoor structure, subject to a number of restrictions and conditions, without planning permission or associated costs. It is incumbent on the Scottish Government to support all sectors of the Scottish licensed hospitality industry in this same manner.”

SLTA boss Colin Wilkinson says: 'These proposals must cover all licensed hospitality businesses.' Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
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