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Next Steps on the Scottish Government’s Plans for Short-Term Let Licensing

The Scottish Government’s consultation on short-term let licensing closed earlier this month and generated over 1,000 responses. First, the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers would like to thank all of its members who participated in the exercise at what was a very busy time for operators.

It is in no small part that this level of response, with individual businesses and tourism stakeholders voicing concerns, that the Scottish Government have announced that they will delay the laying of their Licensing Order until November 2021. The Cabinet Secretary for Housing Shona Robison MSP set out their revised plans in a letter to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government Committee which you can read in full here. In particular, we note the following:

“We remain committed to getting this legislation absolutely right. Our intention to lay the Licensing Order in September was predicated upon the consultation only highlighting minor points for revision.  The consultation closed on 13 August and the Scottish Government received more than 1,000 responses to it.  Whilst many of the points raised are familiar from previous consultations, there are some points that require careful consideration, especially if the competency of the legislation is being questioned.  We also want to take the time to review all the consultation responses carefully to see what we can do to address genuine stakeholder concerns.”

We have already published our substantive, evidence-based consultation submission but as part of our engagement with government, the ASSC also held a meeting with Shona Robison on 18th August. During this meeting, we raised the following issues with the Cabinet Secretary:

  • Explained why the ASSC chose to resign from the Working Group on Short-Term Lets due to it being not fit for purpose;
  • Detailed the ASSC’s approach to regulation and our various policy recommendations over the past few years;
  • Voiced concerns about the flawed Business Regulatory Impact Assessment, how the cost of the licensing fees was severely underestimated, and on the consequences of overprovision;
  • Highlighted the need for reliable, empirical and robust data to underpin the regulatory approach; and
  • Expressed our firm belief that the draft proposals will be costly to operators and instead urged an exemption for registered accommodation which would be a more proportionate approach.

The ASSC welcomed the constructive nature of the conversation. While some differences remain, we appreciate the Cabinet Secretary taking the time to speak with us and in our mutual desire for positive relations and a compromise which can satisfy industry concerns but also those from other affected stakeholders.

As ever, the ASSC will endeavour to update you on the latest developments on the licensing proposals and all other regulatory matters.

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