Scottish Government attacks SNP council leader over tourism tax

In a rare display of public disunity, the SNP Cabinet Secretary for Culture,Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop has publicly rebuked Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey for proposing a tourist tax:

Hyslop’s most pressing concern seems to be the wellbeing of tourist businesses. But Edinburgh city council is facing over £20 million in cuts this year alone. Local government funding has been hit hardest by cutbacks by the Scottish Government - councils have faced a real term decrease in funding of almost 10% in the last eight years. 

The tourism tax, or transient visitor tax, would see a very small levy placed on hotel rooms, with the money being retained entirely by the local council. Similar taxes are in place in cities across Europe, like Barcelona, where they have proved very successful in raising revenue without acting as a deterrent to tourism. It is backed by Scottish Labour, and has recently won the support of COSLA, the local government association.

COSLA President Alison Evison said: “We want to strengthen local democracy and promote local decision making, starting with giving councils the discretion to introduce a Transient Visitor Tax.”

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