The SNP’s failure to give Edinburgh councillors the power to deliver a tourist tax is a ‘massive missed opportunity to invest in local services’, Kezia Dugdale said today.
There is no mention of a tourist tax in Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘programme for government’, despite cross-party support for the idea at a local level – including from the SNP leader of the city council.
It could deliver a £2.5 million windfall for Edinburgh just during the Festivals, recent analysis suggested.
Labour would devolve the power to local government to charge a tourist tax on each over-night stay per person, as a way of raising additional revenue and ensuring more economic power is held locally. A £2 per night charge could deliver more funding for cash strapped local services.
Kezia Dugdale, Labour MSP for Edinburgh and the Lothians, said:
“This is a massive missed opportunity to invest in local services in Edinburgh.
“Public services are under increased pressure after the SNP government’s brutal austerity cuts, and we need to urgently look at new ways for local authorities to raise revenues – including a tourist tax.
“Why doesn’t Nicola Sturgeon trust her colleagues on Edinburgh City Council to make decisions in the best interests of local people?
“She said in her speech that councils should have ‘appropriate powers to balance the needs of their communities with wider economic interests’, yet has completely failed to match her rhetoric with action. This is an incredibly disappointing programme for government for people in Edinburgh.”
The SNP leader of the city council was “slapped down” by Scotland’s tourism secretary over his plans to introduce a tourism tax in Edinburgh. https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/city-council-leader-in-twitter-spat-with-fiona-hyslop-over-tourist-tax-1-4763780
A Tourist tax could raise around £2.5 million during the Edinburgh Festival alone. This is based on a £2 charge per bed across all accommodation assuming a 90% occupancy rate. This is generally the occupancy rate