Retailers have warned that the introduction of an alcohol renewal licence fee in Scotland could cost stores up to £500, every five years. 

District national councillor and owner of a Family Shopper in Glasgow, Mo Razzaq said the charge would force small businesses to pay external costs.

"The government is proposing a renewal fee of £50, but every licensing body has different rates. In some cases it can cost up to £300," he said. "We simply don't have the time to fill out the application. For us to do this we would have to pay someone a wage to come and look after the shop, and a lot of us would also need to pay for training to help us fill it out."

Mr Razzaq said the deadline to submit is 31 May 2019, but he is concerned about the time constraints this imposes. 

"The worry is everyone will leave it too late," he said. "There are 40,000 licence holders in the UK, even if it's submitted just before the deadline, the council will have a backlog to approve. It could mean retailers are left with no alcohol licence."

President Mike Mitchelson has urged the government to rethink its decision. He said: "Independents are already hard-pressed as they operate in an environment of rising costs and falling margins. Our concerns were registered when we responded to the Scottish government's consultation, so we are disappointed that it appears to be pushing ahead with this plan."

In addition, Mr Razzaq believes the fee favours multiples. "The government seems to be playing into the hands of multiples. They have the staff and departments to deal with these matters," he said.

"They are making it harder for small businesses to stay in business, but we will continue to fight this."