AN average pub in Scotland will be £15,000 worse off, and a medium-sized hotel by £30,000, than their counterparts in England because of a lack of support from the Scottish Government, a committee of MSPs will be told today.

The figures, calculated by UKHospitality Scotland, are based on the decision by Scottish ministers to not provide 75% relief from business rates to the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. Relief of this scale is currently provided by the UK Government provides to these industries south of the Border, up to a maximum of £110,000 per business.

The hospitality industry in Scotland had lobbied furiously for the 75% relief in the build up to the Scottish Budget in December. Scottish ministers rebuffed the calls but did make other moves on business rates in the Budget, including introducing 100% relief for hospitality businesses on the Scottish islands, and maintaining the small business bonus scheme.

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The new figures will be presented by UKHospitality Scotland to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy and Fair Work Committee, which is taking evidence from representatives of the tourism and hospitality industry today.

Leon Thompson, executive director of UKHospitality Scotland, said: “These figures clearly illustrate the real-life consequences of the Scottish Government’s decisions.

“In the current climate, it is almost impossible to fathom a local pub landlord or hotel manager being able to find thousands of pounds to pay a bumper business rates bill in April. Many are struggling to keep the lights on as it is, in the face of extortionate rises in energy, food, drink and wages.

“It is an active choice of the Scottish Government not to support these critical venues and leave them significantly worse off than their English counterparts, for the second year in a row. Our pubs, restaurants, hotels and cafes, to name a few, are pillars of our communities. They’re where we go to meet friends and family, celebrate an occasion or for some much-needed relaxation.

“There is still time for the Scottish Government to put right their widely-criticised decision not to provide business rates support this year. As they finalise this year’s Budget, I would urge them to use the funds available to them and introduce a 75% business rates relief scheme.”

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