Cabinet Secretary’s support for tourist tax legislation ‘luke warm’
At Portfolio questions today (Wednesday 20th March) the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, was questioned by Lothian MSP Miles Briggs over the plans for a new tourist tax in Edinburgh.
Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, asked Fiona Hyslop MSP, what assessment the Scottish Government has made of the potential impact of a tourist tax on the tourism sector in Edinburgh and Lothian.
Miles Briggs MSP, Scottish Conservatives, said:
“Leaders of hotel, hospitality, and tourism groups in Edinburgh have voiced their opposition and concerns to plans for a tourist tax in the Capital.
“They State, ‘Edinburgh Council needs to heed the voice of hospitality, drop its proposals and work with the sector to develop a dynamic and customer-focused strategy that will help keep the City, and Scotland as a whole, at the forefront of global destinations.’
“I think it is fair to say that the Cabinet Secretary’s support for the proposal has been ‘luke warm’.
“Given these concerns does she actually believe a tourist tax is a good for Edinburgh and Scotland tourism sector?”
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said:
“This is an issue for Edinburgh Council, working with the Edinburgh Community, and the Edinburgh businesses to determine.
“I stand by what we have agreed as part of our budget negotiations, had the Conservatives come to the table in any meaningful shape of form, perhaps the budget discussions might have been different.
“We will honour our commitment, there will be an introduction of consultation, followed by legislation, but one of the things that our previous national discussions showed us is that it was really complex.
“It is not a simple perspective and even today when I was in Aberdeen, the views there were although some of the local authorities may want to introduce it, some may not.
“The read across between different local authorities and what they do would be important, so therefore a level playing field across Scotland is something that we heard and that is all part of the discussions that local authorities will have to take.”