The call comes from the Scottish Beer & Pub Association which points out in its Manifesto 2016 that Scotland’s beer and pub industry supports 60,000 jobs and injects £1.6 billion into the economy there.
“We make a huge contribution, providing career opportunities for young people, supporting tourism and investing in local communities,” commented Paul Togneri of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, “Yet pubs face real cost and legislative challenges.
“The time is right to create a champion at the heart of government. Our manifesto sets out a clear plan to secure the role of Scotland’s pubs at the heart of communities. The Pubs Minister could help address the burden of business rates on the sector, support skills and apprenticeships, drive innovation and investment and help rural pubs. With so much positive to offer, we think being Scottish Pubs Minister is probably the best job in Government!”
Pubs now operate in an ever-increasing and busy marketplace alongside cafés, casual dining and other forms of entertainment. This, coupled with new pressures from the UK Living Wage and the new drink-driving limit, has added to the challenges facing the Scottish on-trade.
The SBPA has called for a range of measures to support an industry so vital to Scotland’s economy, heritage and culture: further action on businesses rates, support for a new apprenticeship scheme, a pilot fund for improving connectivity and transport in rural areas, continued support for lowering beer duty and the creation of a Scottish pubs minister number among its top priorities.