Busi­nesses are against city’s tourist tax plan

The Herald - - NEWS - CATRIONA WEB­STER

PLANS for a tourism tax in Ed­in­burgh have been branded “un­wanted and dam­ag­ing” as a sur­vey of lo­cal busi­nesses re­veals a ma­jor­ity were against it.

The Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses (FSB) sur­veyed 124 busi­nesses in the city, with 94 (76 per cent) stat­ing they were against the in­tro­duc­tion of a levy on tourism and 73% say­ing they thought it would have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the lo­cal econ­omy.

The city coun­cil is cur­rently draw­ing up a busi­ness case for a proposed tax with the aim of per­suad­ing the Scottish Gov­ern­ment to hand over the nec­es­sary power to in­tro­duce it.

The draft pro­pos­als are ex­pected to be re­vealed this sum­mer with a con­sul­ta­tion with lo­cal busi­nesses to fol­low.

It is es­ti­mated that visi­tors spend £1.46 bil­lion each year in Ed­in­burgh, sup­port­ing around 34,800 jobs.

Janet Tor­ley, FSB leader for the east of Scot­land, said tourists must be val­ued and not “priced out” of the city.

She said: “This is a wake-up call for the coun­cil, sig­nalling that its plans to in­tro­duce a tourism tax in the city are un­wanted and po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing.

“De­spite the cau­tion which the Scottish Gov­ern­ment has urged over this tax, the city coun­cil has pressed ahead with the de­vel­op­ment of a ‘busi­ness case’ for its in­tro­duc­tion. Now it is clear that the over­whelm­ing opin­ion of lo­cal busi­nesses is ‘no’.

“Ed­in­burgh is at the very heart of Scot­land’s tourist in­dus­try - it is our most vis­ited city and home to some of our most iconic land­marks.”

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