A NEW snapshot survey conducted by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) shows yet more disturbing evidence at how short-term let licensing is causing concern and poised to cause havoc within Scotland’s tourism sector.
A total of 1,848 businesses replied to the leading trade body’s survey in just 48 hours. These businesses represent 17,563 bed spaces in the tourism accommodation market so the potential impact cannot be underestimated. The ASSC has continually warned of the unintended consequences of the regulations and that they remain unfit for purpose.
Of those surveyed across Scotland, just 36% have applied for a licence. Of those who have done so, only 10% have been granted. At a local level, in Edinburgh around 22% of respondents have applied and only 1% (4 licences) have been granted a licence. In Perthshire, 38% have applied and only 8% have had a licence granted.
Ascertaining the reasons why respondents had not applied, the prohibitive costs associated with licensing and the onerous and time-consuming nature of the application process was highlighted, while others did not have confidence their licence application – which has a non-refundable fee – would be granted.
However, another worry is that many remain deeply uncomfortable with the sharing of personal data as part of the application process.
The ASSC recently wrote to First Minister Humza Yousaf to warn its licensing regulations may be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as privacy and data protection laws. Some 70% are concerned at the requirement by some councils to display personal information in public spaces.
Identity theft, personal safety and security, GDPR and privacy breaches, harassment, unwanted community conflict, vandalising of property, vulnerability of women and older people are all examples of the many comments from survey respondents.
Only 53% of businesses plan to remain open, representing a potential loss of over 6,200 bed spaces across the survey sample alone, which will pose significant problems to successfully accommodate all those who wish to visit Scotland.
Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said:
“These survey results indicate small tourism accommodation providers have little to no confidence in the licensing scheme. They remain concerned about a whole range of issues, from extortionate fees to the sharing of personal information. Operators are already leaving the sector with many more poised to follow suit.
Time is running out. The Scottish Government need to pause their disastrous scheme and get a grip of the situation with an urgent review before it is too late. The self-catering sector stands ready to work with Ministers and officials to put in place a fair, proportionate and legally sound regulatory framework.”