THE owner of one of Glasgow’s longest running restaurants has described the alcohol freeze announced in this year’s UK budget as a ‘huge relief’ for hospitality firms like his, facing higher costs as a result of Brexit.

Seamas MacInnes, who owns Cafe Gandolfi, said he broadly welcomed the measures announced to help businesses but said there wasn’t enough detail about how his will benefit as a whole.

Mr MacInnes, who employs 26 staff, said furlough would be of help but said he hoped he wouldn’t be required to take advantage of the scheme if he is able to re- open his restaurant before the end of May.

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The restaurateur cited the alcohol tax freeze as having the greatest benefit to his business, which has been operating for more than 40 years, saying “the cost of everything” would rise as a result of Brexit including wine and coffee.

He said firms had to expect that they will be required to pay more in contributions going forward to mitigate the economic losses of the pandemic.

HeraldScotland:

“The extension to furlough is good, it does help me but I’m hoping we won’t have to use it," said Mr MacInnes.

"I’m hoping to be open by the middle of May and if that’s happening then I can bring my staff back. Maybe there will be a partial furlough.

“The fact that alcohol won’t increase - thank God. With Brexit, everything is going to increase. “Our wine is going to increase, our coffee from Italy is going to increase.
“If we can have our alcohol not taxed any more than it should be then that’s a kind of relief.  

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“Even the fact that the fuel is not going to go up because no matter where you get your products - and hopefully as local as possible - it could still have increased.

“Taxation will rise at some point but we have to understand the need for a proportionate response to everything.

HeraldScotland:

“But the detail isn’t really there - I don’t really know how much of this will affect me.

"There are big differences to be acknowledged in businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector.”

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Mr MacInnes said the rise in the minimum wage was positive but acknowledged it would be hard for businesses that are already “on their knees”.

He said he hoped the re-opening of Glasgow’s restaurant trade will be without any of the previous restrictions such as the 6pm curfew and alcohol ban and said he was pleased to be involved in discussions with Glasgow City Council on strategies to encourage more people back into the centre.

He added: “It’s incumbent on all of us in the public and private sector to work together to ensure the best possible chance of economic recovery is possible.

“I think restaurants will survive but it’s not always the best ones who do survive.”