Drinkers in Scotland appear to have taken a pub smoking ban in their stride after a major chain sounded an optimistic note about trading today.
While beer volumes and income from gaming machines were marginally down on the rest of its estate in England and Wales, Enterprise Inns said it had been pleased by the performance of its 139 sites north of the border.
The owner of a 8,579-strong estate said the ban, which has been in place since the end of March, had been accepted with "equanimity" by drinkers in Scotland and it was encouraged by the optimism of its licensees around the UK, who it said saw the chance to develop their businesses and attract new customers.
A total ban in England and Wales is due to come into force next year.
Enterprise pointed out that while some poor quality pubs could suffer a decline in trade, others with a more diverse offering would gain new customers and market share and so grow profitability.
Enterprise said: "It is now essential that the Government urgently provides clear regulations and guidance to a realistic timetable which will allow all licensees and local authorities to implement the proposals in an effective manner."
The comments from Enterprise came as it said underlying earnings rose 4.3% to £268m in the six months to the end of March. The average earnings figure per pub was £31,200 in the period, compared with £29,600 a year earlier.
By Graeme Evans at PA News