Plans for the Scottish Government to license self-catering will shatter confidence throughout the sector in Scotland, a new survey has found.
In a poll of 1,000 members of the expert trade body representing the £723million industry, the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, one-in-three operators said that the heavy-handed regulations would cause their businesses to become unviable.
Worse still, nearly half (49 percent) of operators said that they would leave the industry, which supports thousands of jobs across the country, and a third of those said they would leave their proprieties empty or convert them to private use.
The overwhelming message from ASSC members is that the Scottish Government should delay its plans to slap the licensing model on the sector, at least until it has recovered from COVID-19 and the scheme has had some much-needed additional parliamentary scrutiny.
Furthermore, 94 percent of ASSC members said that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their businesses and a further 63 percent have described their current outlook as “pessimistic”.
With these attitudes and outlooks so prevalent in the sector, the timing of the Scottish Government’s current consultation appears to be, at best, counterproductive.
ASSC members, and the broader self-catering sector, were among the first industries in Scotland to shut their businesses down to stop the spread of the virus and were also among the first to reopen with strict, government-backed, cleaning measures in place.
Having made these huge personal and professional sacrifices, the Scottish self-catering sector now finds itself unsupported and facing further restrictions that pose a grave threat to its future as part of Scotland’s vibrant tourism offering.
ASSC Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:
“Our members are rightly concerned by the potential impact of this ill-timed and ham-fisted licensing scheme.”
“At this time of uncertainty and chaos, the Scottish Government should pause, reflect, and further consider the negative consequences of further impediments to our sector doing what we do best.”
“The ASSC will continue to speak up for our members, and our industry, and we can only hope that the Scottish Government listens to us.”