Alcohol advertising ban in Scotland proposed ‘at a worse possible time’

In response to a Scottish Government consultation which contains a series of radical measures that have drawn the ire of much of the business community in Scotland, the Federation of Small Businesses this morning says the proposals increase costs, constrain markets and negatives The effects will go beyond the licensed trade and the beverage industry.

FSB Chair Andrew McRae said: “With business confidence at an all-time low, margins squeezed and reserves depleted, this latest set of proposals comes at the worst possible time for Scotland’s small businesses.

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“While this consultation seeks to address a recognizable problem in Scottish society, implementing even some of the solutions it proposes would have significant unintended consequences for Scottish businesses of all types.

“Some will face cuts in vital sources of income, others will be forced to face onerous and costly changes. And all at a time when companies are faced with ingrained costs of doing business.

“We are therefore calling on the Scottish Government to drop these plans and reconsider.”

The FSB’s response came after the Scottish Beer & Pub Association said last night that it had urged Scottish ministers to “discard” the proposal contained in the consultation concluded yesterday.

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Two of the three candidates fighting to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as first minister and leader of the SNP, Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf, have expressed concern about the proposals.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: “This poorly designed consultation was grossly unbalanced, at odds with broader government objectives and policies and refused to recognize the economic, social, historical and cultural importance of the brewing, distillery and hospitality.

“If implemented, the proposals would have disastrous implications not just for Scottish producers but for so many other vital sectors that are engines of economic growth. This includes our tourism industry as well as sports clubs and associations, from the professional to the municipal level. Our cultural sector, theaters and cinemas would also come under additional pressure, as would public transport providers.

“It is encouraging to hear that the SNP leadership candidates have some understanding of this potential harm and are committed to a rethink. The beer and pub sector remains steadfast in its commitment to responsible consumption and reducing harm to health, but we urge the incoming First Minister to quickly scrap these ridiculous proposals and instead focus on targeted interventions and working in partnership with key stakeholders. ” Alcohol advertising ban in Scotland proposed ‘at a worse possible time’

Adam Bradshaw

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