Scottish restaurateurs, publicans, and hoteliers have issued a stark warning that there are 'merely five weeks remaining' to rescue the industry, urging the Scottish Government to provide urgent support.
The Scottish Hospitality Group, representing the interests of numerous businesses nationwide, has initiated the SOS: Save Our Scottish Hospitality campaign. This campaign aims to highlight the sector's dire situation before the Scottish Budget in December.
Stephen Montgomery, a director of the Scottish Hospitality Group, stated, "The hospitality industry is in a state of crisis, and this situation cannot continue.
"Absent government intervention, we're looking at increased prices for consumers, widespread job losses, and the permanent closure of many cherished hospitality establishments.
"It's imperative that we convey our message effectively in the forthcoming five weeks before the budget announcement, supporting our hospitality sector to not only survive but also prosper."
The pressing need for assistance stems from a 'double economic blow' caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, compounded by soaring inflation and energy costs.
Mr. Montgomery, who owns a 48-seat restaurant in Dumfries and Galloway, has personally experienced the escalating pressures confronting the industry and its clientele.
He remarked, "Numerous businesses are emerging from the pandemic burdened with financial debt.
"And now, we're grappling with a cost-of-living crisis that's inflicting hardship on both the industry and consumers.
"In some instances, while turnover has increased, profits have dwindled, necessitating continual price hikes just to break even.
"Consumers can't keep shouldering higher costs for the privilege of dining out, especially when they're also struggling to afford basic home maintenance."