SCOTLAND’S oldest national trade protection group is marking its 140th anniversary in 2020 and wants to use the milestone to encourage a new generation of licensees to take an active role in protecting and developing the industry.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) was established in 1880 following a meeting of licensed trade operators from Glasgow, Edinburgh and most of the larger towns in Scotland.

Today, the SLTA is run like a business with financial controls strategies in place, overseen by a non-executive advisory board.

The body has witnessed a major restructure and there is renewed focus on revenue, recruitment, training and collaboration. But as the SLTA moves into the next phase of its history, it is vital that a new generation of licensees gets involved.

Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said: “It’s interesting that the concerns of the trade 140 years ago were very similar to some of those today – there was recognition that working together and collaborating would give the industry a stronger voice in the corridors of Parliament when it came to key issues.

“A significant part of what we do is to work with and lobby government to ensure that the decisions made in Holyrood are the right ones for the licensed trade. It is absolutely crucial that we have access to the decision-makers and that’s where a strong trade association can step in.”