Premises steady but PLHs plummeted in first year of pandemic

Personal licence numbers fell by 5000 in the twelve-month period

THE number of licensed premises in Scotland remained reasonably steady in the first year of the pandemic, but the number of personal licences dropped by over 5000, according to new statistics published by the Scottish Government.

The annual licensing stats, available on the Scottish Government website, show there were 16,303 premises licences in force on 31st March, 2021, down from 16,565 on 31st March 2020.

However, the number of active personal licences fell dramatically between March 2020 and March 2021, with 55,459 personal licences in force on 31st March 2020 and 50,382 by 31st March 2021.

The most recent numbers lacked input from East Renfrewshire, which in March 2020 had reported 172 active premises licences.

In March of 2020 there were 4731 businesses with only an on-premise licence, with an additional 6812 that had both on and off-premise licences, to reach 11,543 in total.

The 2021 figures did not split this, but instead combined those businesses with both an on-sale and off-sale element to their licence to reach 11,310. Again, the East Renfrewshire figures were omitted, which in 2020 had accounted for 116 businesses with both on and off-sales facets to their licences.

Across Scotland, there were 4993 businesses with purely off-trade licences in March 2021, down from 5022 the year before.

The biggest drop in on-sales licences was in Aberdeenshire, where the total number of on-sales licences fell by 77 during the twelve month period.

The biggest increase in on-trade licences was in Glasgow, which saw 41 more on-trade licences active in March 2021 than the previous year. Edinburgh added 22 on-trade licences in that time.