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Short-Term Let Legislation: Letter to West Highland Free Press

“It is an indisputable fact that the Scottish Government has not been able to produce any data or robust evidence to show the correlation between the lack of availability of affordable housing and the link with short-term lets”

The following letter was sent to the West Highland Free Press:

“I note from the article in your 9th July edition that our MSP, Kate Forbes has urged locals to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation on short term lets. I agree with her analysis that this is a complex and multi-faceted problem with no easy answers. She goes on to say that she hopes that debate centres on the facts rather than ill- founded fears.

“The gaping hole in such data and consequent assumptions made at local authority level is a disgrace. The affordable housing challenge has existed for over a century, exacerbated by the policies of the Thatcher Government in the 80’s. The facts of history, particularly with respect to rural poverty, continue to be disregarded on the high altar of political rhetoric. Further, mere repetition of the narratives, anecdotes and opinions does not turn them into fact. It merely delays political commitment to make positive improvements for all. There is not one shred of verifiable evidence to show that legislating control of the short term let sector will improve availability of affordable homes. To imply otherwise is to give false hope to individuals and businesses suffering the realities of lack of access to high quality housing in their home communities. Rather than find deliverable, long term solutions it seems that – yet again – the disadvantaged are to be fobbed off with sops to the ‘scandal of second home ownership’, regardless of whether the legislation will make any meaningful or measurable contribution to solving their immediate problems. It won’t and, even if it did, we wouldn’t see the outcome until the middle of this century at the earliest. Meanwhile, very real damage will be done to the tourism industry more widely and those local residents and communities who are reliant on short term lets for their livelihoods.

“Presumably there are other facts that our political representatives would wish to share with us? I, for one, can’t wait to hear why the Scottish Government holds the self-catering and bed and breakfast sector in such contempt.”

West Highland Free Press Letters 23 July 2021

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