New Scottish Covid-19 restrictions ‘risk young people’s future’

A member of the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has warned that renewed Covid-19 restrictions are a “risk [to] young people’s future”.

Stephen Montgomery, who owns two hotels in Dumfries, said that restrictions being mulled by authorities which may come into force after the furlough scheme ends “will cost jobs”.

He said members of the SHG will be forced to “shelve” as many as 27 new businesses or refurbishment projects, and pointed out that hospitality and tourism is the third largest sector for employment in Scotland.

The Scottish government is reportedly considering introducing new lockdown restrictions with bars and restaurants facing a two week closure if they come into effect, costing businesses £10m.

The Scottish Hospitality Group’s membership comprises many of the most successful brands in Scottish hospitality, and its members employ over 6,000 people.

More than 1,500 employees of SHG member businesses are under 25, and the proposed restrictions risk the employment prospects of many young people who are dependent on hospitality work.

The proposed restrictions by the Scottish government are in response to a recent spike in new Covid-19 reported cases which have already prompted local lockdowns and quarantines elsewhere in Scotland.

Stephen Montgomery SHG spokesman said: “If the Government keeps imposing tighter restrictions on us it will cost jobs once furlough ends and our members will have to shelve the 27 new business or refurbishment projects they have in the pipeline.”

He said of the refurbishment projects and new business ventures: “The investment of more than £30m creates extra jobs in the supply chain as well as direct employment. Hospitality and tourism is the third biggest employer in Scotland and the major provider of jobs for young people.”

For many young people, working in hospitality is a stepping stone between studies and full time careers.

Nic Wood, boss of the 22 Signature Pubs chain, said: “Since we started over 17 years ago, I’ve lost count of the number of our young student staff who have gone on to become successful doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs.

“It will be heart-breaking if we are forced to make redundancies because the Government has shut us down again.”

He continued: “Young people in Scotland will once again bear a disproportionate amount of the burden and coming on top of all the issues that students and young people are facing already, this will be a step too far.”


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