Wet-led pubs ‘left behind’ says Fife group

Man pouring beer

SMALL wet-led pubs have been “left behind” by politicians in Westminster and Holyrood, according to trade group the Fife Licensed Trade Association.

In a letter to local politicians publican Morag Douglas – a board member of the Fife LTA and who runs The Star in Burntisland – said that reopening has been “a lot more problematic” for smaller pubs than it has been for larger operators.

And in addition to struggling with factors such as incorporating social distancing with limited floor-space, Douglas said pubs without a food offer “have been left behind” by the UK Government’s recent VAT cut and Eat Out to Help Out initiative.

Such pubs, said Douglas, are now left with three choices: to open and run at a loss; to stay closed and accrue more debt; or to open and “run unsafely in order to try to eke out a living”.

“In short it appears that the reopening guidelines and further help from the chancellor are very much aimed at larger businesses and the small pubs which are such an important part of the community have been completely left out in the cold and their owners are stuck between a rock and a hard place,” wrote Douglas.

“If more help is not forthcoming quickly for these businesses, I fear that there will soon be a lot less community pubs around, which will be a severe blow to our Scottish way of life in which we come together to help and support each other through such social venues.”

The letter was sent to a number of Fife politicians.