Union warns alcohol advertising ban will impact jobs and investment

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The union is concerns about Scottish jobs
The union is concerns about Scottish jobs

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GMB, the union, has warned the Scottish Government it must ditch plans to restrict alcohol marketing and instead bring forward a national strategy for the future of jobs and investment with workers and employers.

The call comes from the union, which represents thousands of workers in brewing, whisky, and spirits across Scotland, as the Government’s Alcohol Advertising and Promotion consultation has closed. The union said there were workforce concerns about the unintended consequences of reduced sales on existing employment levels across the sector.

“While the consultation is well intentioned, an alcohol advertising ban will inevitably be detrimental to jobs across the sector and its supply chains. And in a cost-of-living crisis, workers in the real-world shouldn’t pay the price for the unintended consequences of decisions taken within the Holyrood bubble,”  ​GMB Scotland Organiser David Hume warned.

“Let’s be clear, the sector is a fundamental pillar of our economy and the jewel in the crown of our highly valuable food and drink sector – we cannot do without it.

“That’s why GMB is urging Ministers to scrap their proposals and work with employers and unions to bring forward a National Strategy to support the sector rather than restrict it.”

Throw out proposals

The beer sector has also opposed the plans with the leading trade association urging the next First Minister to ‘throw-out’ the proposals on alcohol advertising. 

“This poorly conceived consultation was entirely unbalanced, at odds with wider Government goals and policies, and refused to acknowledge the economic, social, historic, and cultural importance of the brewing, distilling and hospitality sector,” ​said ​Emma McClarkin OBE, ceo of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association.  

“If enacted, the proposals would have a catastrophic impact not just for Scottish producers, but for so many other vital sectors that are engines of economic growth. This would include our tourism industry as well as sports clubs and associations, from professional to grassroots community level. Our cultural sector, theatres and cinemas would also come under additional pressure as well as public transport providers." 

She added: “The beer and pub sector remain steadfast in their commitment to responsible consumption and reducing health harms, but we strongly urge the new First Minister, once elected, to quickly throw-out these ludicrous proposals and instead look to targeted interventions and partnership working with key stakeholders.” 

SIBA, which represents small brewers, has said the proposals could stifle small producers in Scotland leading to fewer direct and indirect jobs in the supply chains. 


“Scotland’s small independent breweries are renown for producing some of the most innovative and exciting beers which are enjoyed the world over by responsible drinkers. They are at the heart of their local communities, supporting local pubs and shops. This is now under threat by the Scottish Government’s radical and extensive proposed ban on promotions and advertising,”​ said Andy Slee, SIBA chief executive.

“These ideas come at a time when the sector is facing threats from every direction including the onerous Deposit Return Scheme and a cost-of-living crisis. Small breweries need greater support not more barriers to trade.”

The alcohol industry in Scotland is also opposed to the plans to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland​. 


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