By Gillian McKenzie
NEXT year is billed as a ‘big one’ for Scotland’s pubs, restaurants and hotels.
But while the trade eyes the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup – and the benefits both events are expected to bring – there’s also the small matter of a referendum on Scottish independence to consider.
With a little over a year to go until voters head to the polls to have their say on whether or not Scotland should be an independent country, both camps – Yes Scotland and Better Together – will be ramping up the debate in the coming months.
It’s imperative that every aspect of both sides of the argument is discussed and scrutinised.
That’s why the Institute of Hospitality Scotland’s decision to stage a debate on the impact of independence on Scotland’s food, drink and hospitality sectors is to be applauded.
The industry is vital to Scotland’s economy, employing some 220,000 people and contributing £4 billion.
And the outcome of the referendum could have major ramifications for this and other business sectors – impacting on everything from the currency used in Scotland to the level of alcohol duty, VAT, business rates and other taxes.
Hearing both sides of the argument in the context of the hospitality industry is, therefore, crucial.