Perthshire hoteliers are calling on Perth and Kinross Council to postpone their premises fees for alcohol licences until the venues can reopen.
Than annual fee, costing hundreds of pounds, is paid once a year by traders who serve alcohol onsite.
In 2020, most traders were only able to get a few months’ use out of the licence.
However, with lockdown preventing companies from getting their money’s worth out, Alyth Hotel are asking the local authority to hold off on collecting the fee until the company can get some value out of it.
Management are grateful for the business support offered to them already but are afraid of letting the licence lapse and being caught in a bureaucratic traffic jam when restrictions are lifted and don’t want to be unable to serve booze when they can reopen.
Building manager Stewart McTaggart said: “We’ll be closed for the foreseeable future.
“Perth and Kinross Council and our landlord have done everything to help, but small things like this go against us.
“It’s a catch 22 for us, to decide whether to pay this bill or another. If we don’t pay it and need to reapply, there could be a backlog.
“We’re just asking the council to put this on hold.”
Perth and Kinross Council say their position for the coming year is under review.
A council spokesperson said: “Licensing legislation stipulates when annual premises licence fees are payable each year.
“In common with most licensing boards, additional time is being provided to premises licence holders to pay this statutory fee.
“The vast majority of licence holders have already paid their annual fee which was due in October 2020.
“The board will continue to liaise with remaining licence holders to agree payment arrangements and will keep the position for 2021/22 under review.”
Alyth Hotel’s owners have already had to forced HMRC into a U-turn over furlough payments as some employees faced being made homeless.
The hoteliers had were almost denied the Covid-19 benefit on the run up to Christmas for 10 employees, but following pressure from The Courier and the hotel’s accountant, HMRC made a last-minute change of plan and awarded furlough to the hotel.
HMRC apologised, saying they had now “put matters right”.