Anorak News | Old Smokies

Old Smokies

by | 24th, August 2006

“I HAVE not met a single person who wants to turn the clock back and reintroduce smoking in restaurants and pubs. Indeed, feedback has been quite the opposite,” says Andy Kerry, the Scottish Executive’s Health Minister.

Andy (we are now all on first name terms with our elected representatives – thank Tony for that) is responding in the Times to the news that since Scotland introduced its smoking ban alcohol sales in pubs, hotels and restaurants have fallen by 11 per cent.

We do not know about Andy’s personal habits but can make a decent guess that he is a non-smoker. And if he is researching the impact of the ban in today’s pubs and clubs he would be unlikely to meet someone who wanted to smoke. All the drinkers and smokers are at home or in the park or in England.

Indeed, it is not beyond the realms of fantasy to suppose that Andy is chuffed and celebrating a double whammy. Stop the smokers and stop the drinkers too. Purge the land of the deep-fried Mars bar and Scotland will be mighty again, fit and ready to invade the hard-living English, to occupy Westminster and steal the crossbar at the new Wembley stadium. Och Aye!

But first there is a little infighting to deal with. The Times says publicans are demanding compensation for loss of trade brought about by the smoking ban.

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, tells the paper: “This ban will put some hard-working licensees out of business and many bar staff out of jobs… If this measure is going to save millions in health costs, as we are told, it would be good to have some of this back in compensation for our members who may lose everything.”

This is hopeful at best. The Government has no intention of compensating businesses and farms dependent on hunting for any financial loss incurred as a result of the Hunting Act 2005.

As the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says on that matter: “The owners of the dogs, horses and hunt buildings will still keep possession of their property and should be able to find alternative uses for it – for example, in connection with drag hunting.”

It is unlikely that the Government will see fit to compensate licensees for loss of earning brought about by the absence of punters it largely sees as a potential drain on the health budget.

And it’s not as if the legislation has stripped licensees of their assets. Indeed, we are told that Scottish pubs can be hired as Puritan chapels and for meetings of the Scottish Taliban…

Posted: 24th, August 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink