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ASSC Response to withdrawal of Legislation for Licensing Scheme

The CEO of the Association of Self-Caterers Fiona Campbell said:

“The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers welcomes the withdrawal of the Licensing Order by the Scottish Government. We consistently warned that the proposed legislation was not fit for purpose, would entail unintended consequences for our vital tourism industry and would heap costs on small businesses at a time when they could least afford it.”

“The ASSC commits to working constructively with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders through the new Working Group to ensure that anything that is taken forward in June – whatever the electoral outcome – is measured and proportionate, and also works to support the recovery of Scottish tourism in these challenging times.”

“Scottish Agritourism would like to thank the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers and in particular their Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell for tirelessly and meticulously campaigning for the short term let legislation to be dropped. Although this has not been dropped, the delay until June does signify that there is multi-party feeling that this legislation will have a significant negative impact on tourism, not just the self-catering and B&B sector.

Scottish Agritourism have put their name to correspondence along with many others representing Scottish tourism to support this lobbying led by the ASSC.” Caroline Millar, Scottish Agritourism

In the News…

Scottish Conservative Local Government Spokesperson Annie Wells said:
“At long last the SNP Government have listened to the lobbying from tourism businesses and the Scottish Conservatives to withdraw these plans.

“However, they have failed to do the right thing and go further by committing that this is the end of the road for these regulations.

“If these regulations are brought back after the election, Scottish Conservative MSPs will stand with the industry and vote to scrap this illogical legislation.

Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Local Government and Lothian MSP Sarah Boyack:

“This screeching U-turn is the result of the SNP’s failure to listen to the genuine concerns of the tourism sector and Scotland’s hard-pressed local authorities. Scottish Labour supports the regulation of short-term lets, but the SNP’s proposal, as it stood, risked unjustly penalising our tourism sector and foisting greater responsibilities onto our hard-pressed councils without providing any new support. We are in the midst of a housing crisis in Scotland, with 32,000 homes lost to short-term lets from 2016-2019 and communities left hollowed out black of action.  Nonetheless, the SNP’s plans were not fit for purpose. We need an effective licensing scheme that has been developed in partnership with the tourism sector and our councils, that can successfully tackle the damage done by years of de-regulation. It’s time for Kevin Stewart to go back to the drawing board and put together a proper plan to regulate short-term lets that does not penalise our tourism sector or put more pressure on our over-burdened councils.”

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes MSP:

I recognise that concerns have been raised by many B&Bs and self-catering properties in the Highlands about the impact of this legislation. I have listened to those concerns, relayed them to the Housing Minister and I’m pleased that he has acted in this way. The stakeholder working group will continue to explore the issues and considering solutions. It’s important that work continues. The purpose was to ensure standardised health and safety measures across Scotland which would not have been onerous as most tourism operators already meet such standards. However, I recognise that it has been a very difficult year for tourism, and it’s important that we listen to the industry. I’m sure the debates about the right balance between housing for local residents and visitor accommodation in the Highlands will continue.” (Strathspey Herald)

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP:

“Our tourism businesses have been devastated by the pandemic and the last thing they needed was being burdened by more regulations. Our small business owners are the lifeblood of Scotland’s economy and need to be supported by SNP Ministers rather than vilified. Our tourism industry needs to rebuild, rather than be strangled by red tape. Threatening to bring back these regulations in a matter of months fails to give the guarantees tourism businesses across rural Scotland have been crying out for in order to allow them to prosper going forward.” (Scottish Conservative Press Release, 18.2.21)

Liam McArthur MSP
“This is very welcome, though perhaps not surprising as it was looking increasingly likely that the Scottish Government was set to lose the vote on the licencing scheme in parliament. It isn’t yet clear what impact the withdrawal will have for deadlines contained in the legislation, but I will endeavour to keep you informed as things develop.
Obviously, this news will come as a relief to many small tourism businesses in Orkney but I have also stated that any revised proposals must only be brought forward after proper consultation with rural and islands businesses. “














Read more about the Licensing withdrawal from Scottish Parliament Here 


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