Dennis Coppola, eigenaar van een electro detailhandel, heeft geannonceerd acties tegen een algemeen Schots rookverbod te gaan financieren.
Hij heeft eveneens gedreigd om zijn bedrijf, dat werk biedt aan 50 mensen, te sluiten en naar het buitenland te verhuizen wanneer het rookverbod zou worden doorgevoerd.
A SCOTTISH businessman is to bankroll a campaign against Jack McConnell’s proposed ban on smoking in public places.
Dennis Coppola, the managing director of Edinburgh-based electrical retailer Scott Coppola, said he will use his personal fortune to challenge the move, the details of which will be announced this week.
Coppola, a smoker, has also threatened to close down his business, which employs 50 people, and move abroad, if the ban is introduced.
He plans to emulate Brian Souter, the owner of Stagecoach and the last businessman to fund a high-profile campaign against Scottish executive legislation. Souter’s Keep the Clause campaign in 2000, when 1.3m Scots voted in a referendum on section 28, forced Donald Dewar, the then first minister, to make a number of concessions putting family values at the heart of sex education in schools.
McConnell is expected to announce the introduction of a bill banning smoking in all confined public places, such as pubs, restaurants and offices, from March 2006. The legislation containing a ban will be on public health grounds, a policy area within the competence of the Scottish parliament. Any smoker who lights up in a pub — and any bar that allows it — will each be fined £3,600.
McConnell is keen to press ahead with the ban despite warnings from pub owners that it could put them out of business. The executive will claim it would prevent at least 70 deaths from passive smoking a year and benefit the economy through reduced absenteeism, smoking breaks and redecoration costs.
Coppola, whose business has an annual turnover of £7.5m, believes McConnell could be forced to make concessions if pressure is exerted on MSPs.