The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), which represents a vital plank of Scottish tourism, called on the Local Government Committee not to back the Scottish Government’s proposals.
The ASSC provided substantial written evidence to the committee highlighting the danger of the plans.
The committee also received an unprecedented number of submissions from people, including from hundreds of worried self-catering and B&B owners, whose businesses have been severely affected by the pandemic.
Scotland’s self-caterers have lost over £230million since September 2020 alone due to COVID-19 and the cost of additional licensing may well inflict a fatal blow on the sector, with nearly 50 percent stating that they would leave the sector as a result.
Disappointingly, the government has so far ignored calls to postpone the regulations, including a letter signed by the ASSC alongside the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the FSB, CBI Scotland, and Scottish Land & Estates.
The government also dismissed alternatives from the ASSC for a proportionate and evidence-based registration scheme for short-term lets.
Instead of listening to the industry, Scottish ministers elected to put in place a slapdash consultation, a late and inadequate Business Regulatory Impact Assessment, and a range of poorly drafted statutory instruments.
This led to the inclusion of B&Bs in the regulations, much to the confusion of industry representatives who were not consulted.
If passed, the consequences of the regulations are not limited to Scottish tourism. Several local councils highlighted the administrative and financial burden of the regulations, as the Scottish Government will not provide funding for initial set-up costs, with Highland Council now calling for implementation to be delayed.
Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:
“Our members, each of whom represent a small business at risk, have turned out in droves to respond to the call for evidence on this issue vital to their survival. The strength of feeling among Scottish self-caterers could not be clearer; these regulations risk killing off our businesses.”
“The scope of the regulations has spiralled out of control and will unleash a myriad of unintended consequences for operators throughout the land at a time when they can least afford it.”
“We therefore implore MSPs on the Committee to back small business and the eventual recovery of Scottish tourism by rejecting these poorly drafted and ill-considered regulations.”