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1st September 2023

Scottish brewery & pub sector call for ‘new deal’ on business rates to be investigated

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) is calling on the Scottish Government to investigate a ‘new deal’ for the nation’s pubs and bars on non-domestic rates, as the industry continues to rebuild from the pandemic while dealing with rising costs and staffing pressures.

The association, which represents brewers and pub companies in Scotland, is proposing a new hospitality specific business rates multiplier (poundage) set at 35p in the £1. Currently, poundage ranges from 49.8p to 52.4p in the pound depending on the property.

Commenting, the Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association,  said:

“The Programme for Government gives the Scottish Government an opportunity to show clear support for the sector by committing to investigating a new deal on business rates.

“Scotland’s pubs and bars continue to face a multitude of strong headwinds, which is preventing many being able to recover fully from the impacts of the pandemic. We’ve already seen more pubs close in the first half of this year, than closed in the whole of 2022.

“We desperately need to relieve pressure on these businesses and additional support on business rates continues to be the number one ask from pub-operators in survey-after-survey. 

“A new deal on business rates with a new hospitality poundage rate, set at 35p in the pound, would be a monumental step forward for Scotland’s pubs and bars.”

Other recommendations from the SBPA include support for reduced VAT, official endorsement of low and no alcohol products as ways to encourage responsible consumption, and recognition for the cumulative regulatory burden currently facing the sector.

McClarkin added:

“In addition to an improved situation on rates, the Scottish Government can make a positive contribution by adding their voice to calls for a reduction in VAT and acknowledging the regulatory burden on our much-loved community pubs and bars needs to be reduced.

“Our pubs and bars are a critical element of Scotland’s tourism offer, contributing over £1.8 billion to the economy every year but we need better support for this to continue.”


For further information, please contact

Scotland pub numbers (source BBPA):

  2022 H1 2023
Scotland pubs 4,469 4,408
Scotland pub openings/closures -56 -61
% change -1.2% -1.4%

A full list of the SBPA’s recommendations is here.

For further information, please contact

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