The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) responds to comments made in the press and Scottish Parliament today (5th September at Topical Questions) by the Housing Minister Paul McLennan MSP about short-term let licensing – including his claims on industry engagement and misleading statement on no licensing application refusals.
Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said:
“Scottish tourism will not grow but lose out due to the costly and onerous nature of short-term let licensing which will cripple self-catering and B&B operators. Professional self-caterers were already complying with existing regulation. Now they are being lumbered with huge non-refundable licensing fees – for policies which may be unlawful – as well as an array of unnecessary red tape.
The Scottish Government may have ticked boxes by holding a few meetings but they have not listened to those working day in, day out in our sector and casually dismissed the evidence and solutions offered by tourism stakeholders. The previous extension was meant to be when they fixed legislation that was clearly not fit for purpose. Sadly, despite the New Deal for Business, nothing has been remedied despite our repeated warnings.
Operators have not had twenty-months to apply. It was not possible to apply until 1st October 2022 – and then many licensing authorities did not have policies open for application. Furthermore, misconceptions abound that no operator has been refused a licence yet this ignores the situation on the ground. For example, in Edinburgh, 98% of planning applications have been rejected and so that means they cannot apply for a licence. According to the Scottish Government’s own data, only 16% have applied and 8% granted. This is not a situation that breeds confidence.
The Scottish Government has singularly failed to appreciate the strength of feeling from an industry that is being unfairly targeted. The First Minister needs to show real leadership and pause these regulations to enable a much-needed review before irreversible damage is inflicted upon our £1bn sector.