Scottish industry bodies unite to call for rejection of New Year trading ban

Thirteen business representative groups and industry bodies have jointly written to Scottish Ministers urging them to reject a legislative ban on shops trading on New Year’s Day.

The thirteen organisations represent a broad cross-section of Scottish industry and commerce including the retail supply chain, tourism, and commercial property.

The collective call comes on the last day of the Scottish Government’s consultation on prohibiting stores from trading on New Year’s Day, and seventeen months on from the start of lockdowns and the economic wrench caused by the Covid pandemic.

The joint letter was submitted earlier this week to Tom Arthur MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Public Finance, Planning & Community Wealth. The letter reads:

Dear Minister,

We are writing jointly to ask that you reject pleas to implement a permanent legislative prohibition on shops from trading on New Year’s Day.

Retail has been at the epicentre of the economic storm wrought by Covid. Much of the sector has been shuttered for at least 220 days over the past seventeen months or unable to trade at capacity due to restrictions. As restrictions ease it should be down to stores to determine and assess whether there is sufficient customer demand and availability of staff to open on New Year’s Day.

Curtailing this through legislation would diminish consumer choice and add to the economic pressures facing retailers, their supply chain, and our town and city centre economies. A strong, varied and open retail offering in turn benefits the wider tourism and hospitality sector as well as the recovery.

The Covid pandemic has been the most challenging period for Scottish industry in decades. As the country seeks to rebuild, rejecting a ban would send a strong and positive message that Scotland is open for business and help to promote Scotland as a visitor destination at New Year.

Yours sincerely,

Tracy Black, Director, CBI Scotland, Robin Blacklock, Interim Director, Scottish Property Federation, Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Marc Crothall, Chief Executive, The Scottish Tourism Alliance, Philip Goodman, Chair, Shopping Centre Management Group, Revo Scotland, Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive, Company Chemists’ Association, David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium, John McLellan, Director, Scottish Newspaper Society, Phil Prentice, Chief Officer, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Anthony Short, Executive Director, Music Industries Association, Colin Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Wholesale Association, Roddy Smith, Chief Executive, Essential Edinburgh and Adrian Watson, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Inspired.

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