SO Edinburgh city council wants a festival tax (your report, 24 August). Tax, tax, tax – is that all these jobsworths can think of? If the Festival is such a success, and such a generator of business for the city, “worth an estimated £261 million to the economy”, then it should be self-financing. It is not entirely clear why the city finds it necessary to tip in £4m in the first place.
But start taxing with “a levy on hotel, bar and restaurant bills, or a business improvement district-style scheme (what on Earth is that?), where firms would pay extra rates on condition that cash raised is ringfenced for festivals and events” is to kill off the golden goose.
There will be those in those hotels and restaurants who have no interest in the Festival. Why should they face another tax? Restaurants in the heart of Edinburgh are expensive enough already, without the city council sticking its fingers in for more cash. There will be those businesses (what sort of businesses?) who will simply relocate … I would.
As for ringfencing the cash, when did that sort of system ever work? Governments and councils are incapable of not robbing Peter to pay Paul. Forget it, Richard Lewis [city culture chief]: your “passion” for the Festival begins to sound like a luvvies love-in. If you are shouting the odds for the culture of Edinburgh, you might want to look at what developers are doing to it … the Accies’ plans for Comely Bank, the plans for the St James Centre, with its centrepiece hotel clad in limestone, the “ribbon” hotel, variously described as a walnut whip, a peeled orange, or worse.
Is not the physical appearance of the city, and of its buildings, an equally important facet of its culture? Now that is something about which you can do something useful.