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ASSC Chief Exec, Fiona Campbell Interviewed on The Sunday Show (19th May 2024)

“The new minority Scottish Government under First Minister John Swinney and Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes are emphasising the importance of economic growth and the need to reduce red tape for business.

This is a welcome change in direction but warm words require action if they are to remain true to the spirit and letter of a New Deal for Business in removing the barriers and burdensome regulations hitting small business throughout Scotland. As self-catering operators, a vital part of the Tourism sector, we know one set that desperately requires attention: short-term let regulation.

We believe there is a real opportunity for the new FM and DFM to turn the page and work in tandem with business to put things right so you can get back to doing what Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers members do best in providing unrivalled hospitality and memory-making stays for guests.

The amendment that was laid on 16th May falls way short of what is required to help existing self-catering owners survive and thrive into the future. It provides little more than minor tinkering around the edges rather than the positive change necessary for a key component of Scottish tourism that boosts the economy by £1bn per annum. It’s akin to rearranging the chairs on the titanic. A minor improvement on something catastrophic.

Industry engagement has to be more than a tick-box exercise; it must produce demonstrable action if the Scottish Government’s New Deal for Business is to mean anything at all in practice. We have repeatedly warned government of the dire impact of its onerous approach, highlighted streams of data to better inform policy, as well as supplying mutually beneficial regulatory solutions to overcome outstanding challenges but sadly to no avail.

On The BBC Scotland Sunday Show yesterday morning, I outlined that there has to be real, tangible change otherwise more small indigenous Scottish businesses will close, it is as simple as that. I am optimistic that under the new leadership, this will happen.

Great to be on the panel with Graeme Sutherland. The tourism and hospitality sectors stand united in supporting The Scottish Government to get relations back on track to make generational policy changes for a sustainable future.”

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