ASSC comment on Holyrood debate and vote on STL licensing

Fiona Campbell (Chief Executive of ASSC)

THE Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers responded to yesterday’s debate and vote in the Scottish Parliament on short-term let licensing.

Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers, said:

“It gives little confidence to businesses when those forcing through this legislation fail to understand it. Even at this late stage, many don’t even understand the policy intention – they’ve had over 22 months to get to grips with it.

False hope is being offered to communities on the one hand, that the housing crisis will be eased by driving self-caterers out of business, whilst on the other we are being told that this is about health and safety, and not about driving down STL numbers. 

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said he has listened to industry but he definitely hasn’t heard. All of our policy solutions designed to deal with legitimate concerns were casually dismissed. His predecessor, Kevin Stewart, noted the proposed Welsh regulations were based on what has happened here. In reality, the similarities between the two ends at the word ‘licensing’. The ASSC would readily support the fair and low-cost Welsh system in place of what we have which is unworkable at best and unlawful at worst.

We are pro-regulation but the right balance has not been struck – what currently stands is onerous, guilty of severe overreach, jeopardises the viability of the Edinburgh Festivals and Scotland’s position as a leading visitor destination. It will be catastrophic not only for the £1bn self-catering industry but B&Bs, as well as those in tourism and hospitality including cafes, restaurants and taxis who rely on our guest spend.

The Scottish Government doesn’t need a repeat of the DRS fiasco on its hands, but it is repeating the same mistakes, blindly forcing through incompetent legislation. It must listen to the voice of small business and pause this disastrous scheme now, enabling a much-needed rethink before it is too late. The industry will work constructively and collaboratively to devise a fair, balanced and legally sound regulatory framework.” 

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