Trade needs a break if it is to flourish

IN just seven weeks time we will honour some of the very best people and premises across Scotland’s licensed trade.
The SLTN team is busy making the final preparations for the 2015 SLTN Awards, which will take place at the Hilton in Glasgow on Thursday November 5 – and this year is extra special as it’s the SLTN Awards’ 20th anniversary.

Once again we, together with our valued sponsors and independent judges, have travelled the length and breadth of the country, visiting bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs.
And once again we have been blown away by the standard.
At a time when the trade is being buffeted from all angles – be it the impact of the lower drink drive limit, punitive business rates, the never-ending welter of regulation, workplace pensions, living wage proposals, or another of the myriad challenges – operators and staff of pubs, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs continue to raise the bar with innovative ideas, quality products and first class customer service.

This must not be taken for granted.

The importance of bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs to Scotland – from the revenue they generate to the tens of thousands of people they employ – is huge.
The powers that be repeatedly crow about the importance of tourism.
But operators need support.
It’s high time governments did more to encourage the sort of independent, entrepreneurial spirit which is at the very heart of the Scottish trade.