Leisure firm’s 200 UK job losses blamed on smoking ban in Scotland

The ban on smoking in public places in Scotland has claimed its first commercial scalps, with leisure firm Rank announcing it will cut 200 jobs across the UK.

The company’s profits were down 3% in the first half of this year, and Rank blamed the smoking ban on keeping people away from its Mecca bingo halls.

Chief executive Ian Burke said there had been a 17% fall in profits at its 117 Mecca Bingo halls, 14 of which are in Scotland.

He warned that forthcoming smoking bans in England and Wales would be further blow to the leisure industry.

“About half of our customers smoke compared with one in four of the population, so on that basis you would expect a similar impact,” said Burke.

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