Tourism agency backs call for earlier pub opening times on Sundays


SCOTLAND’s national tourism agency believes earlier opening times for pubs in the capital will improve Edinburgh’s economy.

VisitScotland has appealed to licensing leaders asking them to allow pubs to open earlier on Sundays.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association has also made a renewed call for rules preventing pubs opening before 12.30pm to be eased.

Several other Scottish authorities, including Dundee and Aberdeen, have changed rules which prevented pubs from serving alcohol before 12.30pm on Sundays.

Despite numerous pleas to allow pubs to open at 11am or earlier, Edinburgh’s licensing board has previously refused to change the rule.

Manuela Calchini, regional director for VisitScotland, said: “VisitScotland welcomes initiatives which will help the tourism sector grow, particularly in the current economic climate.

“We are happy to support the request by the Scottish Licensing Trade Association to introduce a slightly earlier opening time on Sunday mornings to allow early diners to order an alcoholic drink with their lunch.”

Pubs in the Tynecastle, Easter Road and Murrayfield areas of Edinburgh are among the premises to want the choice of opening earlier on a Sunday, as well as pubs that screen live football.

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: “In a cosmopolitan city like Edinburgh, pubs should be allowed to open earlier.

“It is not all about drink, it is about giving the pubs the opportunity to open because part of the tourism experience in the city is the food offering.

“If you are not open until later you can miss out on some of that.”

He added that the current 12.30pm opening time is from a previous time when it was tradition to not open on Sunday mornings because of church.

The city council reiterated its policy on Sunday trading hours as part of its November 2010 overall statement of licensing policy.

A council spokesman said: “We consulted widely with the public on this issue and took the views of local residents and the police.

“It was agreed that the 12.30pm opening hours worked well for the city in providing a respite from the later weekend hours.”