The Cost Crisis: What the Scottish Government can do to help Scottish Tourism Businesses
Scotland’s tourism industry – of which self-catering plays an integral part – has already been through one of the most challenging times due to the impact of Covid-19 but now faces further uncertainty and economic difficulty with the cost crisis.
In recent days, both the Scottish and UK Governments have announced a package of measures to address rising energy bills which are of real concern to people and businesses across the country – but more can and should be done.
The ASSC welcomes the commitment from the Scottish Government to work with the business community to address challenges around increased costs and economic disruption. To this end, they have engaged tourism stakeholders on recommendations and views in respect of existing, new and pending regulation which could help offset the significant increase in direct costs, particularly energy.
Below you can find a summary of the proposals we have put to the Scottish Government. This has been supported by the Scottish Tourism Alliance.
ASSC Proposal to Scottish Government
Short-term let licensing will come into effect on 1 October 2022, introducing new red tape for legitimate micro businesses. There is significant concern around the cost to businesses of short-term let licensing (as well as planning control areas).
Costs will include the licence fee itself (some councils have still to set out their proposed fees; while others are charging in excess of the figures provided in the Scottish Government’s BRIA) and layout plans (approx. £600 per premises) amongst others. This is in addition to existing compliance costs of risk assessments, EICRs, PAT testing, fire safety, insurance etc. The cost of planning permission applications has increased this year significantly. Associated fees for layouts and plans add to the expense.
These additional costs have fuelled a real feeling of uncertainty for self-caterers across Scotland. This, coupled the media coverage of the cost of living crisis, is already having a negative impact on operators and holidaymakers, with forward bookings already down in the autumn and winter this year.
Our Ask of the Scottish Government
The ASSC believes that the Scottish Government should delay the forthcoming legislation, by simply passing an SSI, amending the existing order to extend the date of implementation. For absolute clarity, we are not requesting that licensing is scrapped – Parliament has expressed its view on that matter – just that it is delayed.
This happened to legislation during the Covid crisis. The situation we find ourselves in now is arguably worse situation for tourism businesses in the medium to long-term.
Pausing the introduction of licensing would show an understanding of the immediate pressures on operators. This would be hugely welcomed by our members and would show that policymakers are supporting legitimate businesses during unprecedented times.
Our small but not insignificant ask is that short-term let licensing should be paused to allow the sector to recover from the pandemic and deal with the significant challenges ahead. Businesses and livelihoods depend on it.