PLH renewal must be new year priority

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LIKE most years before it, 2018 has brought its fair share of challenges for the trade.

Spiralling costs, tourist tax proposals, exorbitant business rates rises, the great unknown that is Brexit – most of the issues are still without resolution as the year draws to a close.

One area the trade did get clarity on, however, is personal licence renewals – a case of better late than never if ever there was one.

The time it took the Scottish Government to confirm the training requirements for the first ‘batch’ of PLHs whose licences expire on August 31, 2019 was, in my view, an absolute disgrace.

Despite repeated calls from licensing lawyers for at least the past two years, and constant badgering from SLTN in that time as we covered the story, the Scottish Government took until August to publish guidance on the matter, and until October to launch a social media video advising affected PLHs to undertake refresher training “as soon as possible” ahead of the deadline on May 31, 2019.

That, in my view, is simply not good enough. It’s no way to treat our hospitality industry which is so important to Scotland and its economy; and no way to treat the operators and staff within it. Of course, the timing could hardly have been worse, with the busy festive period almost upon the trade as clarity on the training was finally given.

Time is now not on the trade’s side. But PLHs whose licences expire on August 31, 2019 must complete refresher training and lodge a renewal application with the board ahead of the May 31, 2019 deadline.

There’s too much at stake to not make this a new year priority.