Scottish Government must act to ensure holiday lets licensing scheme is not yet another SNP blunder – Scotsman comment

Warning that 61 per cent of small holiday lets could close has to be taken seriously

The warning by Fiona Campbell, of the Association of Scottish Self-Caterers, that 61 per cent of bed-and-breakfasts and small holiday lets are set to close at the end of September, rather than sign up to the Scottish Government’s new licensing scheme, may seem scarcely credible. However, it is one that must be taken seriously by ministers. Tourism contributes billions to the Scottish economy and the removal of such a large number of places where tourists can stay would have a catastrophic effect.

The decision to license holiday lets was prompted by the sudden and dramatic growth of Airbnb-style properties, with raucous ‘party flats' causing major problems for permanent residents and helping to price people out of buying a home in certain areas, particularly in city centres. However, there does seem to be a case to be made that the Scottish Government’s licensing scheme is too onerous and not sufficiently targeted at the problem it was set up to solve.

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Ministers must urgently reassess the effects of the legislation because, if the real-world effect is half as bad as Campbell suggests, this could be by far the worst of the SNP’s recent string of blunders.



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