Jim Whitelaw – Reform UK
Tourism and the hospitality industry is a huge contributor to the revenue of many countries of the world, but it is particularly important to Scotland and especially so to the millions employed in the sector.
Many of those employed in the hospitality sector are on minimal wages, and although furlough has temporarily helped them to get through this difficult time, many will never return to work as the underlying businesses will not survive.
Pubs and restuarants will be allowed to open from the 26th April, but the conditions will be prohibitive to many, meaning they will coninue to lose money, even if they can open. They must close at 8pm which is their prime business time. No alcohol will be allowed to be served inside and with the Scottish weather, that practically means not at all before June.
Two hundred pubs across Scotland have already thrown in the towel and closed their doors permanently. What will these further restrictions mean? All this in an industry which has been shown by the data to be responsible for a very low level of transmission.
To add insult to injury, pubs and restuarants in England are already open and have been for over a week, but in Scotland our places of relaxation remain closed until the 26th April. To put this in perspective, Scotland has currently less than 150 people in hospital with Covid out of a population of well over 5 million, that’s around 0.003% of the population in hospital with Covid.
Many problems beset the tourist industry but they will not be solved by tourists arriving in our country as Nicola Sturgeon refuses to even open the border between Scotland and England, despite England having lower amounts of Covid than Scotland.
I do not know where we go in the hospitality sector from here, but none of the options are pretty and it is certain there will be many more redundancies, many more bankruptcies and many more stress related ilnesses and deaths through the continued restrictions on this sector.
The only advice I can offer is for those involved in the hospitality industry to vote Reform at the upcoming elections. Very few other parties have anyone to put forward with even a grain of common sense.