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The ASSC issued a snap survey seeking insights to further inform the Scottish Government and industry on the cost of compliance of existing legislation for small tourism accommodation businesses.

In 22 hours, the survey generated 336 responses from businesses in 26 out of 32 local authorities. 53% were from members of the ASSC and 47% responses were from non-members.

Some of the key findings include:

  • The vast majority of respondents identified that they came from rural areas / islands (81%).
  • 75% or respondents report turnover of under £50k per annum, and 43% under £20k per annum. 
  • The June 2021 BRIA calculated the total compliance costs to be circa £963.00.
  • Real costs identified by operators are three times those identified in the BRIA, illustrating an average cost of £2,969. This will, of course, vary according to urban / rural / remote / island operations.
  • The costs identified in this survey do not include additional costs for ‘Information to be Displayed’, plans to show ‘maximum occupancy’, and other new costs associated with the proposed licensing regime.
  • 76% of respondents’ report increases in operating costs of between 11-75%. The key driver is the pandemic in terms of additional cleaning times, operators leaving fallow days to ensure guests safety, the cost of materials and labour, extra linen costs, plus the need for relaxed cancellation policies.
  • The cost of doing business generally has risen exponentially since the pandemic: “Gas bills have increased by 18%. Electricity bills have increase by 15%. Insurance has increased by 15% and cover has reduced.”

Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said:

 “Small tourist accommodation businesses such as self-catering, bed and breakfasts and guest houses have been the backbone of Scotland’s tourist industry for generations.

Professional small businesses – who already comply with numerous regulations – are under threat from an onerous and bureaucratic licensing scheme. This comes at a time when the sector can least afford it as many businesses are still in survival mode due to the pandemic. Instead of burdening operators, policymakers should instead look to protect businesses and livelihoods at this critical phase of Covid-19 recovery with a proportionate and targeted compromise with their proposed legislation.

The ASSC’s exemption proposal for registered accommodation ensures the appropriate regulatory balance – one which supports jobs and livelihoods but also secures the Scottish Government’s policy objectives in a more proportionate and cost-effective manner for those already complying with the proposed mandatory licensing conditions.”

Read More: Cost of Compliance

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