Star Pub & Bars is investing £960,000 into four pubs in Edinburgh this year, creating around 40 jobs and working with two multiple operators.
Star Pubs & Bars is investing £325,000 in a £500,000 refurbishment of The Annfield with Neil Douglas; the pub, which has been closed for a couple of years, is to reopen at the end of March as a neighbourhood bar serving a range of gourmet burgers and will be renamed Basil’s.
The Victoria, which has been closed since September, will reopen at the end of March as Damm27 with new licensee Andy McCartney.
Other pubs benefiting from investment in the first quarter include The Scotsman on Cockburn Street, which reopened on 1 February, and The Spylaw in Colinton – which will see a six-week refurbishment commence on 4 March.
The company also plans to invest a further £340,000 in The Phoenix on Broughton Street, changing it from a sports bar into a new, renamed venue.
“We’re delighted to be kicking off 2019 by investing in some fantastic Edinburgh pubs, as invested pubs, especially those offering food, are good news not just for licensees who run them but for the communities they serve,” comments Brian Davidson, Star Pubs & Bars’ regional operations director (pictured).
“Investment attracts new licensees, which then creates new jobs, boosts local businesses and helps brings people of all ages together throughout the day and evening.”
Recent news from the Scottish Budget confirmed that the Scottish government are to bring forward legislation for Transient Visitor Levies, which is a ‘real concern’ for the pubs in the country.
“In Scotland, our industry supports over 66,000 jobs and contributes £1.66bn to the economy annually,” comments Brigid Simmonds, CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association.
“It is also a crucial part of the nation’s tourism offer, with a visit to a traditional pub ranking third on the list of things tourists do when they visit. Any impact on visitors will trickle down directly to our sector.
“Any introduction of a ‘Tourism Tax’ in Scotland would discourage visitors, see tourists having less money to spend during their visit and only add to the current challenges and uncertainty.
“Any introduction must therefore be accompanied by a reduction in tax elsewhere. The UK ranks almost bottom on any list on price competitiveness for tourists and unlike most countries in the EU does not offer reduced VAT on either accommodation or food.
“On average, every pub contributes £100,000 to their local economy each year, and with tourism being such an important backbone to Scotland’s economy, a ‘Tourism Tax’ on one of the country’s most successful businesses would be bad news.
“The tax contribution of the hospitality industry in Scotland is extremely high. Introducing a tourist tax will be very detrimental and a disincentive for visitors.”