Scottish hospitality wins six-month tourism tax reprieve

The Scottish government has granted a six-month pause on the introduction of the local visitor levy, widely known as the tourism tax, leaving hospitality businesses the chance to capitalise on bookings before the penalty is imposed in June this year.

Scottish hospitality wins six-month tourism tax reprieve
Scottish hospitality wins six-month tourism tax reprieve

The Scottish government has granted a six-month pause on the introduction of the local visitor levy, widely known as the tourism tax, leaving hospitality businesses the chance to capitalise on bookings before the penalty is imposed in June this year.

The decision follows lobbying from representative hospitality bodies including the Bed & Breakfast Association (BBA) and UKHospitality. BBA chairman David Weston says, “At the end of December they agreed on a six-month pause before introducing the licensing scheme.”

He says that despite intensive lobbying by his association and other trade bodies, raising a great many concerns about it and protesting against it, these concerns were ignored. But he says, “They finally agreed to a six-month pause, which is not a total victory but it obviously does help, because it allows more time for people to adapt to the new rules.”

The local government said the pause will give them a chance to change the guidance and to make sure it is consistent between local authorities, he says. “It’s to be implemented by 32 different local authorities and there are lots of inconsistencies that we pointed out, and they will iron those out. It’s limited, but it’s a good thing for small B&Bs.”

He claims that while the BBA lobbied the authorities against the new tax, it advised they that if they were to introduce such a levy then they should go for a light-touch registration scheme. “They didn’t listen,” he says. “They went for a full local licensing, which means you’ve now got 32 different versions of the tax, which is horrendous.”

And he warns that a similar tourism tax is now being threatened in Wales. “We put in a big submission to them against such a Bill. So, if they do bring them in, there are a lot of practical points that they’ve got to bear in mind,” he says

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