The former chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association has claimed the Scottish Government is simply not listening to the hospitality sector when it comes to effectively managing coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking on the Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey, Paul Waterson said: “We’ve had a meeting with the Government every week since Covid started. They haven’t taken on board one thing we’ve asked them to.

“Some things are relatively easy. For instance, when you bring in vaccine passports, please do not say in the media it’s for nightclubs because it’s not. It’s for all late opening premises.

“People will turn up at a late opening premises that isn’t a nightclub – because there are hybrid places – and won’t get in because they keep saying this is for nightclubs.

"We told them not to differentiate between parts of the trade because there aren’t any different parts, only one licence . . . a hotel, restaurant, bar: all one licence.

“Why not listen? You’re trying to get a message over but they’re trying to control us and it ruins your confidence. People start to question everything you’re doing and that’s not a good thing.”

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“You must get everybody working together because we’ve all got the same aims and aspirations.”

Mr Waterson also highlighted to the show’s host, Donald Martin, editor of The Herald and Herald on Sunday, what he regards as the failings of the recent COP26 event in Glasgow:

“With COP26 there have been winners and losers. As far as hospitality is concerned, hotels did very well, including outlying hotels because of the capacity issues. However there was a significant amount of losers: people who had businesses in town, for instance, where people couldn’t get to them. Locals and British tourists stayed out of Glasgow.

“The authorities didn’t listen to operators. Operators had asked for certain information, they didn’t get it. There was a thought there could be some sort of legacy – for instance, to close the road in Finnieston and create a pedestrian zone.

“There was this pessimism that pervaded through all of COP26; the thought there were be a lot of talking and nothing would happen. A lot of places would have done something based around COP and made the place more attractive. I don’t think that happened. So, all in all, there were winners but for many there’s no legacy and many places didn’t do very well out of it.”

Also speaking on the show, Lord Willie Haughey asked: “Paul, I got the impression a lot of the decisions were made outwith the local authority and these were London-based decisions. I think a lot of that wasn’t thought out well.”

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Mr Waterson replied: “Politics come into it. I think Westminster was in this position where Glasgow had COP and it was a focus for the world, but you know, with independence in the frame, they wanted to keep the Scottish Government out of this. I think there was a lot of that going on, which is very unfortunate because it creates division. And then, of course, you have the local council being criticised for political reasons. You have the strikes and you have all that negativity before COP, which tends to keep going.”

Sir Tom Hunter asked: “What can Glasgow do? It’s the second city of the empire so what’s gone wrong? But, more importantly, Paul, what can we do to get it back up where it belongs?

“Covid will be a reset for a lot of things but we’ve all got to get together,” said Mr Waterson. “Governments have to listen to professionals in every business. If we are given the flexibility and the financial resources to do it, instead of taking the money back, we can get on with it. Our job is to get people into work but we need the framework to work within we don’t seem to have that."

“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the licensed trade. It’s just a matter of getting us through a very difficult time. I’m very positive going forward. We’re going to lose places but business will develop.

“Hopefully politicians will listen to us in the future and understand we want people to have the confidence to come into our businesses but we need the flexibility financially to help us develop.”