BAR and nightclub owners are set to launch legal action against the Scottish Government over its plans to introduce vaccine passports.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Scotland has now instructed its legal team to “commence proceedings” against the Government – saying the current plans are "likely illegal".

The vaccine certificates are set to come into force from October 1 and affect large indoor and outdoor events, as well as nightclubs.

From then, Scots will need to show proof that they have had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon Covid update: Vaccine passport details outlined

Nicola Sturgeon has said the scheme will help curb transmission of coronavirus in Scotland while allowing venues to stay open.

Outlining its opposition, a statement from the NTIA the plans are “neither proportionate, nor represents the lowest level of intervention possible to achieve the public health imperative, and it is therefore likely to be unlawful".

The organisation said while it had been in talks with the Government over the past three weeks, that didn’t lead to any “meaningful consultation between Government and the sector”.

It continued: “We remain ready to work with the Scottish Government should they choose to take on board the sector's concerns and work collaboratively to find a better and more deliverable solution.

"This vaccine passport scheme as currently proposed raises serious issues with definition, market distortion, discrimination, resource allocation and economic impact amongst others, and had the Scottish Government been prepared to work with sectoral experts in the earliest stages of policy formulation some of these deep-rooted problems may have been avoidable.

"It is also clear to us that the policy as currently proposed is neither proportionate, nor represents the lowest level of intervention possible to achieve the public health imperative, and it is therefore likely to be unlawful. "Regrettably then, and given the serious flaws in the policy as proposed, we have now instructed our legal team to commence proceedings against the Scottish Government with a legal challenge to vaccination passports.”

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The group said it had hoped recently fallen cases would have made the Government look at the plans again as well as the sector’s concerns.

On Tuesday, the First Minsiter told MSPs that her minsiters were "working closely with business on the definitions that will apply, in order that we hear its concerns and can address them as far as possible".

She called the scheme a "reasonable" and "proportionate" ahead of winter to ensure cases remain under control and that vaccine uptake remains high.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We want to keep businesses open and trading over what may be one of the most difficult winter periods in history.

"Vaccine certification is in use in many countries, often with a much wider scope than planned in Scotland, and we believe they are an essential and proportionate measure to reduce the risk posed by coronavirus.

“We are working closely with stakeholders on the roll out of the certification scheme. Further details will be announced shortly.”