Beleaguered trade needs government support


By Gillian McKenzie

AFTER a busy summer that has taken the SLTN team the length and breadth of the country, we’re just seven weeks away from honouring some of the best people and premises in the Scottish trade at this year’s SLTN Awards.

From village pubs and city centre clubs to rural restaurants and island inns, we have visited a huge number of outlets, meeting inspirational operators and staff along the way.

Not only has the judging programme once more highlighted the vibrancy and diversity of the Scottish trade, it has again showcased the passion of all those involved in it.

Sadly, as we are all only too well aware, it’s not easy.

The trade continues to be hammered from all angles – from the quite frankly ridiculous business rates system and ongoing uncertainty over Brexit to workplace pensions and spiralling costs.

Despite the ever-increasing 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 trade is nothing if not resilient.

Of course, it shouldn’t be this way.

As I have written here many times, both the UK and Scottish governments should be doing much more to support licensed trade businesses which are so vital to the country’s tourism offer and wider economy.

If the independent, entrepreneurial spirit which is at the very heart of this sector is not nurtured and encouraged, everything that makes this trade so special will be lost.