PLEASE READ AND ACT: THIS WILL VERY SERIOUSLY AFFECT YOUR FUTURE BUSINESS IF NOT STOPPED
As you know, in February, the Scottish Government’s proposed self-catering licensing regulations were pulled at the last minute before the election in response to the high level of individual objections and by the reasoned concerns of the ASSC and other major tourism stakeholders.
The Scottish Government then promised to engage with, and listen to, our industry through the Short-Term Let Working Group involving the ASSC and other stakeholders, with a view to introducing amended regulations this summer. Through the Working Group, the ASSC, with unprecedented industry support, submitted detailed and practical proposals for meeting the Scottish Government’s policy objectives on short-term let regulation through setting up a robust mandatory registration scheme.
Sadly, this engagement only paid lip service to our industry. The Scottish Government rejected the ASSC’s proposals out of hand without any proper explanation. Now, in a new consultation – incidentally, their third in recent years – they have simply restated their original licensing proposals with a few amendments that, if anything, make the proposals worse for self-catering operators and the other tourism businesses that have now been caught in the legislation – this includes B&B’s, small guest houses and even yurts!
When the ASSC surveyed over 1000 members, nearly half of owners said they would close their businesses if licensing was introduced. Moreover, around two-thirds of those who would close said they would keep the property as a second home and for friends, no doubt with significantly reduced nightly occupancy rate relative to use for self-catering.
There are many reasons why owners will close –
Introducing licensing will result in significant damage to Scotland’s tourist industry, including the businesses that provide services to property owners, and, in turn, to local economies. The irony is that the Scottish Government are pushing ahead with this when we are trying to recover from the economic damage of Covid-19 and for the longer term, and when staycations are being encouraged for sustainability/environmental reasons.
This will have unintended consequences reaching far into the supply chain, to cleaners and maintenance providers, restaurants and bars, activity providers and visitor attractions, thereby negatively impacting local communities.
But none of this is inevitable. The Scottish Government have in the past changed policies if there is enough public pressure. They temporarily withdrew the original Licensing Order because of a high level of negative responses. There is a chance they will do so again – but only if there is an unprecedented level of concern.
If following the consultation, the Scottish Government decide to proceed with their regulations, an updated Licensing Order will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament and considered by a parliamentary committee before the Order is voted on by all MSPs. You will be invited to raise your concerns directly with the Committee – we will advise on the procedure and deadline when appropriate.
We have prepared a briefing paper providing a full background and explaining the issues in detail and concerns referred to above. We hope you find this useful.
Members: Link to the Briefing Paper HERE *PLEASE NOTE* Members will need to be logged into their account for access.
Non-Members: If you’d like a copy of the briefing or to be updated, subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/hhCXDv