Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has signed an open letter to Scottish ministers calling for a pause to short-term lets legislation, joining 37 MSPs from across the parties in expressing serious concerns over the Scottish Government’s handling of the issue.
The letter, addressed to Housing Minister Paul McLennan and Small Business Minister Richard Lochhead, notes that over 80% of all types of short-term lets have not yet applied for a license, and warns of “irreparable damage to Scotland’s vital tourism sector” if the Scottish Government continues with the regulations.
Commenting, McArthur said:
“The roll-out of short-term lets regulation has been badly mishandled.
“Small business owners have little confidence in the process, and this is reflected in the terrible uptake rates for licensing.
“In an island context, the problems created appear to be even more acute.
“At this stage, if the Scottish Government ploughs ahead with its plans, it risks crippling Scotland’s vital tourism infrastructure for no obvious gain.
“Again, the effects will be most keenly felt in our islands
“The message from small businesses the length and breadth of the country could not be clearer.
“A pause in the process is now absolutely essential to allow a proper rethink of this policy.
“I urge the Scottish Government to heed the warnings and recognise the strength of feeling on this important issue.
“It’s still not too late to avoid the looming cliff edge but it needs Ministers to act fast.”