Government accused

Visitor bodies quit working group on short term lets

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New rules around short term lets have been raised concerns

Several tourism organisations have resigned from the Scottish Government’s Working Group on short-term lets, claiming that it has failed to fulfil its remit and branding it “not fit for purpose”.

Representatives of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, Airbnb, the Scottish B&B Association, and the UK Short Term Accommodation Association have quit the group citing its inability to address concerns the industry has raised over proposed new measures.

Industry figures have also accused the Scottish Government of deliberately “shifting the goalposts” on its policy intentions and acting with disregard towards the sector, which says it has suffered immense hardship throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Earlier this year, the Scottish Government withdrew its licensing proposals ahead of the election as they were widely recognised as not being fit for purpose, and they committed to respond to stakeholder concerns through the Working Group.

However, the tourism bodies have highlighted the lack of significant changes in the legislation impacting traditional self-catering and B&Bs, as well as home sharers, despite representatives of both sectors acting in good faith, as grounds for quitting the group. Additional provisions have been added to the legislation, with some guest houses now being caught up in the plans.

Further, they have accused the government, which is now on its third consultation on short-term lets in four years, of acting with “cavalier disregard and indifference” towards the sector’s concerns about the impending restrictive licensing scheme and of ignoring their proposals for a more workable, proportionate and cost-effective mandatory programme of registration.

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