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Short-lets licencing in Scotland has been 'disastrous' says Tory MSP

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A Conservative MSP has slammed Scotland’s short lets licensing scheme for its negative impact on thousands of businesses.

Miles Briggs labelled the implementation “disastrous” and warned that lessons needed to be learned as the Scottish government moves towards introducing its Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill.

Speaking in the Holyrood debate, Briggs said the negative impact of the scheme continued to be felt on small firms.

“Evidence from the Scottish B&B Association suggests that 67% of its members say that the cost of the STL licensing has impacted on their business revenue and affected their viability as businesses,” he told MSPs. “I am concerned that ministers have failed to develop a robust exemption scheme in the bill.”

In February, the UK government announced changes in planning rules, giving councils in England greater power to control short-term lets by making them subject to the planning process, along with a new mandatory national register to provide information about short-term lets in their area. These changes were due to take effect in the summer.

Discretionary powers

However, Labour has promised to go further if it gains power. During a previous debate, shadow housing and planning spokesman Matthew Pennycook (pictured) told MPs he wanted a discretionary licensing scheme to be introduced for holiday lets, a plan backed by York's Labour MP Rachel Maskell.

MSPs backed the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill which allows a levy to be charged on overnight stays by local councils, with all money raised to be reinvested in services and facilities largely used by tourists and business visitors.

Briggs added: “It is important that councils do not see the new power simply as a golden goose to make up for funding cuts that have come from the Scottish government.”


Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’sSelf-Caterers (pictured), tells LandlordZONE: “Our polling demonstrates the precarious situation self-catering businesses find themselves in, with plunging levels of business confidence. However, the problems we face are not intractable as mutually beneficial solutions are readily available. 

"With a genuine and meaningful New Deal for Business, we believe there is a real opportunity for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to turn the page and work with business to put things right so the sebusinesses can get back to doing what they do best in providing unrivalled hospitality and memory-making stays for guests.”


Main pic credit: Scottish Conservatives.

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