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16th December 2022

Beer & pub sector disappointment at lack of rates relief in budget

Budget puts Scottish pubs at significant disadvantage.

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s budget announcement today (Thursday), the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has warned the decision not to replicate the business rates relief will be met with disappointment from hospitality operators.  

Emma McClarkin OBE, CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association said:  

“The lack of an announcement on business rates relief for Scotland’s pubs is hugely disappointing and will be met with dismay by many operators. Both the UK Government and Welsh Government have ensured that eligible businesses there will receive a 75% discount on rates next year, after a 50% discount for the entirety of this year. In comparison, Scottish businesses have been back to full rates since the summer. This puts Scotland’s pubs at a significant disadvantage in their recovery given the challenges they are facing. 

“We’re glad the Finance Secretary’s has listened to industry and agreed to freeze UBR. This will provide a greater degree of certainty moving into 2023, but does not make-up for the failure to replicate the 75% discount the trade had been hoping for.  

“From Perth to Paisley, Stranraer to Stornoway, licensed premises are trying desperately to hold on amidst a perfect storm, with increased business costs and customers who are being more careful than ever about what they’re spending, they are being squeezed at both ends and profit margins are being wiped out. 

“We still desperately need additional action from both the Scottish Government and Westminster to save our much-loved pubs. Staff shortages, pressures throughout the supply chain, rising business costs, and unfathomable energy prices with inadequate support, are all adding together to create an extremely hostile environment for businesses. When coupled with increased regulations, including an unevidenced and unwanted Tied Pubs code, and impacts from Deposit Return, there is still a real uphill struggle for many to survive. Without our pubs and brewers our communities will be poorer not only economically but socially. 

“Investment is critical to our sector’s survival and growth, and we remain committed to working alongside Government to ensure that Scotland remains competitive, and the sector can continue being a bedrock of the national economy.”  


Press release from the SBPA.

For further information, please contact:  

Paul Togneri ( 

Jessie Powell (