Hospitality should be at the heart of economic recovery

Rates review and continued support for the industry among the key points in trade group’s election manifesto


SCOTLAND’S tourism and hospitality industries should be “at the heart” of the Scottish Government’s plans for rebuilding the economy, according to trade group UK Hospitality.

Ahead of next month’s Scottish Parliament elections the group has published a manifesto titled Rebuilding Scotland’s Hospitality and Tourism Sectors, which sets out a number of priorities for the incoming Scottish Government.

They include the continuation of financial support for the duration of any COVID-19 trading restrictions, a full review of the business rates system and a moratorium on any new legislation covering the sector. A commitment to investing in tourism infrastructure is also sought.

Willie Macleod, executive director, Scotland, at UK Hospitality, said a “robust and fully-supported” hospitality sector should be “central to any Scottish Government’s plans, and to rebuilding the economy following the devastation of the pandemic”.

“Businesses in every region have known only forced closures or the tightest of restrictions for over a year,” said Macleod.

“Businesses that will be expected to lead the recovery of the Scottish economy will have to do so from a position of immense vulnerability.

“However, that will require vital support from Holyrood, so that our businesses can spark an economic revival and see villages, towns and cities prosper again. This is exactly what hospitality did following the financial crisis and we can do it again.

“The key asks in UK Hospitality’s manifesto show the incoming Scottish Government exactly how they can put us in the best position to provide jobs, secure investment and give the country a reason to enjoy itself.

“If the Scottish Government listens to us and provides the right support, then we can go even further. Our sector can be in the vanguard of efforts to promote green issues such as carbon reduction and sustainability. We can also spearhead national efforts to promote healthier attitudes to food and drink. If we are given the correct support, then hospitality’s ability to be a positive influence economically, socially and culturally is massive.”

The Scottish Parliament elections will take place on 6th May.