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Supporting Self-Catering: Comments from ASSC’s CEO

Forty-five years ago, a group of inspired individuals came together to promote the vital, traditional self-catering sector, and to underpin a commitment to our core principles: quality, integrity, cleanliness, comfort, courtesy and efficiency. Since it began in 1978, the ASSC has grown to develop a community of 1700 members who operate professional self-catering properties across Scotland, from Shetland to the Scottish Borders.

Times may have changed, but some things remain the same. From the very beginning, the goal has always been to improve the already high standards in self-catering in Scotland, and our work will continue on into the future. Our small, dedicated team has put in a herculean effort over the years to improve our standing, and we have also been blessed with some truly excellent board directors who have helped immensely in moving the organisation forward.

As an organisation, the ASSC strives to further the interests of traditional self-caterers, who contribute £1bn annually to the Scottish tourist economy, whilst aligning our key principles to the priorities of the people and communities we exist to serve. We always strive to engage constructively with national and local government, proposing policy recommendations and solutions – but when regulations are proposed which will damage the livelihoods of our members, we fight back in a robust and forthright manner.

Indeed, our forty-fifth year has been one of the toughest the industry has ever faced. Our lobbying efforts and media outreach have been extensive. From the introduction of short-term let licensing, onerous planning policies, and Judicial Reviews, 2023 has been relentless. On the latter, I would like to personally thank the JR team for the unbelievable number of hours, their tenacity and the dedication that they have committed to our entire sector this year. It has been an honour and pleasure working with them.

Short-term let regulation is by no means over, with a review promised by the Scottish Government in the New Year. Further regulatory hurdles will be put in our way, from the introduction of a visitor levy, changes to non-domestic rates or energy performance certificates. Once again, the ASSC will be at the forefront in challenging these policies to mitigate unintended consequences and ensure the sustainability of our sector.

When the odds have been stacked against us, we always rally and come together in our efforts to support self-catering in Scotland. As Chief Executive, I wish to convey my thanks to our incredible new ASSC team for their professionalism and dedication during these unprecedented times and for hitting the ground running, going the extra mile, and working long days to support our members through this incredibly difficult time.

This year, we look back on what we’ve achieved and forward to where we’re going. In this very special year for ASSC, and ahead to our half century, we would of course like to praise the resilience, hard work, tenacity, professionalism and dedication of our members. We are indebted to you.

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