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City of Edinburgh Council Tourist Tax Consultation: Statement from ASSC

Responding to the City of Edinburgh Council Tourist Tax Consultation results, Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:

“While the motivation behind this consultation is to be welcomed, we at the ASSC are concerned that the foundations on which it is based are not as robust as this serious issue deserves.

“For example, the consultation’s own figures show that only 17 per cent of responses came from businesses and a mere 7 per cent were drawn from accommodations providers –  both of whom would feel the brunt of this tax disproportionally if it were imposed.

“We do not feel this reflects the situation as it is in our capital and that more weighting should be given to the views of those whose livelihoods are set to be impacted upon by this measure.

“As Scotland’s short-term rental trade body, we are also disappointed by the presumption in favour of introducing a tourist tax contained in the questions – it would have been far more useful to ask recipients if they were in favour of the policy in general.

“Furthermore, there is a desperate need for clarity; in particular with regard to which firms would be called upon to administer this tax on visitors to Edinburgh and how they would go about doing do.

“Fundamentally, tourism in Edinburgh is a roaring success and any steps that could damage it – including a tourist tax – must be fully considered, and based on sound evidence, before they are put into place.

“What is needed is a full economic impact assessment to accompany these proposals in order to help promote pragmatic, sensible, and fair policy decisions as this issue unfolds.”

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