Scottish Government's positive words undermined by flawed proposals, says UKH
04 September 2019
Posted by: Chris Banks
UKHospitality has reacted to the announcement of the Scottish Government legislative programme welcoming support for tourism and hospitality, but reiterating its warning of the damage that will result from the introduction of a tourist tax.
UKHospitality Executive Director for Scotland Willie Macleod said: “We welcome the support for tourism as a career of choice and the tone and sentiment of the Scottish Government’s statements on immigration. We hope that it can be heard in Westminster. We also welcome Government recognition of our warnings about the relentless burden of regulation of our sector and the costs of compliance; there is a pressing need for an overview to be taken about new regulation in our sector, the timing of introduction and the ability of businesses to cope with implementation.
“Proposals to address short-term letting will be vital, but they need to include registration and regulation of a sector that has for too long been able to operate unfairly.
“It is disappointing to see the Scottish Government confirm it will push ahead with a consultation on a tourist tax that will seriously harm Scottish hotels and impact on the wider visitor spend.
“Introducing an additional tax on tourism and hospitality businesses who are already some of the most highly taxed in Europe is a mistake. To do it at a moment of such political and economic uncertainty is a huge misstep.
“Hotels are very valuable assets to communities, both financially and socially. They are already at an unfair disadvantage when competing against home sharing platforms and now they are being treated as cash cows.
“We hope that local authorities across Scotland understand the damage that introducing a tourist tax will do to hotels in their areas. We will be contacting them urging them not to introduce it and encouraging our members, and the wider hotel sector, to do the same. Otherwise, Scotland’s hotels are going to be hit hard by yet another tax.
“UKH also remains very concerned about the impact on hospitality and licensed businesses of unfair rating valuations and will be engaging with Scottish Assessors and Government in the hope of alleviating this before the 2022 valuations are decided."