Public backs Edinburgh’s tourist tax

By Laura Sharman | 09 January 2019

A consultation has found 85% of residents strongly support the introduction of a tourist tax in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh City Council has proposed a new Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) to include a 2% or £2 per room per night charge on all forms of accommodation, which is expected to raise up to £14.6m per year.

A consultation on the proposals found 85% of the public and 51% of accommodation providers strongly supported the plan, with most respondents (47%) saying the charge should be a flat rate per night.

Leader of the council, Adam McVey, said: As a council, we have a strong track record of investing in and supporting our cultural offering and heritage - but, as the demands on our city increase, we will need a secure additional source of funding to sustainably invest in and manage the impact of this growth.’

However, executive director of UK Hospitality, Willie MacLeod, said: 'We oppose the introduction of a TVL in Edinburgh, or for that matter anywhere in Scotland, primarily on grounds of price-competitiveness.

'The UK is one of only three EU countries that do not apply a reduced rate of VAT to accommodation and tourism services.

'Moreover, while it is true that many EU countries do impose some form of tourist or bed tax, this is done against a much lower rate of VAT.

'To impose an additional tax on visitors to Edinburgh and Scotland is potentially damaging to tourism and fails equitably to compare the competitive position.'

The Scottish Government is consulting on the benefits of enabling councils to charge tourist taxes though First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there are no plans to introduce such a levy.

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