Finance Secretary urged to give Scottish pubs a break in budget

Pubs and the beer industry sustain more than 66,000 jobs and contribute £1.66 billion to the Scottish economy, according to a new study.

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association, which commissioned the report, emphasised the economic contribution of the trade and called for the Scottish Government to offer it business rates relief.

The study found the industry pays a combined total of £780 million in wages and £918 million in tax each year.

It was released at a launch event at Kilderkin in Edinburgh.

Murdo Fraser MSP at the launch of the report
Murdo Fraser MSP at the launch of the report

Pubs sustain 57,080 jobs while breweries support 8,550 jobs across Scotland, with Glasgow the area with highest employment but Edinburgh paying the most wages.

Highlighting the finding that 40% the industry’s workforce is made up of under-25s, the Scottish Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds warned support was “crucial” if the industry was to create further jobs for young people.

Urging Derek Mackay to follow the UK Chancellor’s lead in Wednesday’s budget, Ms Simmonds said: “This report shows the huge economic contribution of beer and pubs to local communities across Scotland.

“As an industry, we now support over 66,000 jobs with £176 million provided in capital investment annually.

“To continue to grow the sector however, we desperately need further support from Government, particularly for Scotland’s pubs in the form of business rate relief.

Brigid Simmonds
Brigid Simmonds

“As this report shows, the beer and pub industry in Scotland pays close to £1 billion in tax every single year but recent cost increases have significantly reduced the profitability of many pubs.

“This was recognised by the UK Government for pubs in England with Philip Hammond providing a relief for all pubs rated under £51,000 in his budget in October.

“A similar relief for pubs in Scotland would allow the sector to continue to invest and provide new jobs. This is especially crucial for young people.”

Oxford Economics chief executive Adrian Cooper, who carried out the study, said: “The Scottish beer and pub sector continues to be an important source of employment and output at a national and local level.

“Its activity generates a significant amount of tax contributions, investment and opportunities for young people to enter the labour market.”