Scotland’s pubs facing a frightful winter in face of Qatar World Cup glitz and glamour

By Jack Gilmour and Euan Wood

Paisley is a town that has always had a famous nightlife and pub scene but with the compounded issues of COVID and the current cost of living crisis, many pubs are facing the likelihood that their doors may close.

Photo by Euan Wood

Pub owners and managers have voiced their frustration at the current situation, with one concerned business owner facing a 300% energy price increase.

Hashtag bar manager, Gus Henderson said:

“It’s a disgrace and its the working class that is getting hurt with it. The fact you’ve got energy companies that are able to make billions in profit, but normal people who are working class are the one’s that have got to pay that extra. It’s frightening to be honest.

“It’s more the so the cost of living side of it is affecting the older generation. It is either go for a pint and get a bit of socialising or heat the house and keep warm.”

Henderson is one of several angered managers that are dismissive of the prospect of a World Cup resurgence in clientele as the industry attempts to bounce back from recent fortunes.

“With it being the World Cup, it’s on terrestrial TV. You’ll get your older clientele, who normally come into the pub, getting themselves a carry out, sit in their house and watch the tele.

“The lockdown changed people’s drinking habits and as soon as we came back to some sort of normality, then the cost of living crisis gave us a double hit, so it’s just been a perfect storm.”

Photo by Euan Wood

Another lease holder, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed her doubt around World Cup boost, saying:

“Maybe elsewhere in the UK it might be, but in Scotland I don’t think it’ll be a big upturn for us.”

“Electricity prices are just ridiculous, something needs to be done. I was at a conference about a week ago that said, I think, about 25% of pubs have shut down during COVID and they are looking at another 25% of businesses just to be gone. It’s really bad. It’s terrible.”

One long-standing customer, Tom Chalmers added: “Nobody’s interested in [the World Cup]. To be honest, nobody’s interested in it. It’s not because Scotland’s not there, it’s because of the corruption that has been involved with it.

“We Scots have always had a social conscience, and that goes totally against everything that we believe in.”

‘The Patter Bar’ owner and manager, Margaret Patterson couldn’t hide her dismay regarding energy prices, stating:

“I think the government is just ripping us with the electricity and the gas, that’s just crippling businesses but it’s also crippling in the house.

“The electricity, through Scottish power used to be about just under £400 a month for electricity in here and with the first price hike from Scottish Power it went up to £894 and with this one, that has just gone up, I am now paying over £1500 for a wee pub like this, using the exact same electricity as I was at £400.”

It’s an overwhelmingly bleak message from Paisley’s pubs regarding the upcoming winter and with energy prices set to go nowhere but up, it could well be the case that some of them won’t see the Spring.

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