S6W-15259: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/02/2023
To ask the Scottish Government what the current status is of the (a) Principles Agreement between Scottish Government and Business and (b) Joint Taskforce on Business Regulation, and what (i) actions, (ii) outcomes and (iii) regulatory changes have been agreed by each initiative.
Answered by Ivan McKee: The Business Principles Agreement, jointly developed with business, was published in December 2021 to cover the current five year Parliamentary term. The Agreement applies across all Scottish Government policy areas and provides a framework to enable more effective joint working between the Scottish Government and business though greater co-development, collaborative delivery and collective assessment of policies impacting business.
During 2022 Ministers had almost 1,250 engagements with business, an average monthly increase of 5% on the COP26 boosted average from May to December 2021. In addition business experience informed development of our National Strategy for Economic Transformation Delivery Plans, while a number of Industry Leadership Groups (ILGs) were set-up or refreshed during 2022 to deepen our sectoral connections, and I established an ILG Chairs group to foster cross-sectoral collaboration and sharing of experience.
The establishment of the Joint Taskforce on Business Regulation provides a further best practice application of the Principles approach with the majority of Agreement signatories being Taskforce members. The Joint Taskforce is co-chaired by myself and CoSLA Spokesperson for Environment and Economy Cllr Gail Macgregor and has so far met in December 2022 and February 2023.
Business organisations and regulatory stakeholders have set out what they would like the group to look at and this will be reflected in the Terms of Reference, with members acknowledging that there is ongoing work in many areas to address the concerns they have raised around specific regulations. The Joint Taskforce will look to identify the existing mechanisms for discussing these regulations before considering and suggesting what interventions might be most appropriate. We will publish minutes and papers on the Scottish Government Website.
The Taskforce has also agreed to look at ways of identifying and demonstrating the cumulative burden of regulation on businesses and members have been asked to consider and provide feedback on the Business Regulatory Impact Assessment approach to help improve the process for developing new regulations in future.
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee’s consideration, at its meeting on 7 February 2023, of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) (Amendment) Order 2023, what assessment it has made of whether the Festivals Edinburgh recommendations, included in its written submission, to (a) exclude home-sharing and home-letting from the scope of the Order for major events and (b) waive requirements for a licence where home-sharing or home-letting activity occurs for less than six weeks each year could undermine the health and safety rationale for the Order.
Current Status: Expected Answer date 09/03/2023
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to recently reported comments made by venue operators at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, concerning short-term let regulations, that “unless secondary letting is also available in all types of property, including tenement stairs, there will simply not be enough accommodation for August’s Festivals”.
Shona Robison: Regulation of short-term lets is vital to balance the needs and concerns communities have raised with wider economic and tourism interests. Local authorities are responsible for developing policies on short-term lets in line with the short-term let regulations, and other relevant factors such as feedback received through local consultations, and Scottish Government short-term lets guidance.
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to develop an amendment to legislation on short-term lets to provide for home or house sharing for a defined time period.
Current Status: Expected Answer date 16/03/2023
To ask the Scottish Government how much each fit and proper person test, carried out by Police Scotland as part of short-term let licensing applications, costs the service.
Answered by Shona Robison (06/02/2023): The Scottish Government does not hold this information. Licensing schemes are administered by licensing authorities on a cost recovery basis through the collection of application fees.
To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the (a) short-term lets sector and (b) hospitality sector about whether 12 months is an excessive amount of time for local authorities to process short-term lets applications, and whether there are plans to reduce this timescale.
Answered by Shona Robison: Our 2021 consultation included draft guidance explaining the rationale for licence application determination times. Licensing authorities only have 12 months to determine applications made by existing hosts (those operational before 1 October 2022) during the transitional period. This is to support licensing authorities to manage the initial volume of applications they receive. During this transitional period, existing hosts are able to continue operating whilst their application is being determined.
For new hosts (those commencing operation on or after 1 October 2022), the usual 9 month determination time set out in the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 applies. We understand many local authorities are prioritising these applications to provide new hosts with a timely outcome. We have no plans to alter either timescale, however, as we have already indicated, we will conduct a review of the scheme in early 2024.
To ask the Scottish Government how many staff in each local authority are working on processing short-term lets licensing and applications.
Answered by Shona Robison: The Scottish Government does not hold this information. The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2022 requires local authorities to establish and run licensing schemes for short-term lets in their areas. Information on staffing levels dedicated to short-term let licensing within each local authority will be held by individual local authorities, and vary based on a number of factors, including volume of activity and approach to physical property inspections.
To ask the Scottish Government how many applications local authorities have received for short-term lets licences, and how many have been (a) approved and (b) rejected.
Answered by Shona Robison: I refer the member to the answer to question S6W-12707 on 12 December 2022. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/written-questions-and-answers