Edinburgh licensing board to cut festive trading hours ‘at worst possible time’ say hospitality industry

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Scotland’s hospitality trade associations – the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA), Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), Night Time Industry Association (NTIA) and UKHospitality-Scotland – have joined forces to oppose a proposed cut to festive trading hours for pubs, bars, nightclubs and other licensed premises by the new Edinburgh Licensing Board.

Under the proposed Licensing Policy Statement, the Edinburgh Board is set to reduce festive trading by three days until at least 2028. Currently, licensed venues in the city are able to operate for two additional hours from 18 December to the 3 January. However, this will now potentially be cut to the 20 December to 2 January, without any reasoning or rationale.

In a joint statement, the five groups said:

“This proposal by the new Licensing Board has come completely out of the blue and without any justification.

“The hospitality sector is still suffering from the impacts of the pandemic, and is also facing a triple whammy of extortionate energy prices, a cost-of-living crisis, and an increase in taxes across the board. This decision will be met with alarm by the city’s pubs, bars and night-time venues and comes at the worst possible time for the sector.

“Edinburgh is vibrant, capital city and the festive period is popular with tourists and locals alike. Reducing hours at this time is the exact opposite of what the Licensing Board should be looking to do and we urgently call on them to remove this ill-thought out and unjustifiable change to a system that has worked positively and been enjoyed for many years. With no evidence put forward as to why such a change should be mooted, we are at a loss why the cut has been proposed. Please join with us in responding to the Licensing Board’s consultation (Licensing Board Policy Consultation – Phase 2 – City of Edinburgh Council – Citizen Space) by 12 November 2023.”

“It is unfair to punish businesses and consumers in this way. They must rethink.”


Contact: Paul Togneri, [email protected]

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