Nicola Sturgeon very generously afforded us considerably more than the scheduled half hour call to discuss in depth the current challenges faced by our industry. The call was scheduled for half an hour, however, the First Minister generously offered us more than 45 minutes to hear evidence on how hard the pandemic has hit the tourism sector and took time to explain the rationale behind current government policy and restrictions to curb the virus.
She highlighted the fact that the ASSC is not against regulation but that more time is required for potential legislation to be properly scrutinised and that the ASSC is committed to working with the Scottish Government to ensuring a positive outcome on the area of short term lets for Scottish tourism.
The First Minister stated that she can’t give a commitment to postponement but will commit to considering the points that the ASSC had put forward carefully in its letter of October which was co-signed by a broad range of sector and wider business organisations. She also said that the Business and Regulatory Assessment (BRIA) will be made public and that one of the purposes of the consultation is to gather views that influence the preparation of the BRIA, which will be published along with legislation.
Ms Sturgeon highlighted the fact that the Scottish Government is committed to listening carefully to the evidence presented to them and will continue to do that in this case, but will have to balance the other side of it which is looking at the purpose of the proposals in the first place. She reiterated that she takes on board all points and that the purpose of part of the overall objective of the consultation is to have a responsible and sustainable approach to tourism recovery; however there are a number of difficult issues to balance and the Scottish Government will endeavor to do that. She has said that a more detailed response will come in the near future.