Council bosses in Edinburgh will press ahead with plans to scrap the city’s tourist tax – calling on SNP ministers to act quickly.
In her Program of Government, Nicola Sturgeon announced long-awaited plans to allow local authorities to introduce a temporary visitor levy (TVL) or tourist tax to raise additional revenue.
City of Edinburgh Council has agreed to approach the Scottish Government and hopes to have a timetable in place for the launch of the scheme in November.
A consultation by the town council based on a two per cent visitor fee was supported by 85 per cent of local residents.
Council leader Cammy Day said the policy could raise up to £15 million a year for the authority, but insisted it could not be used to restore the authority’s core budget to the Scottish Government.
He said: “We welcome the long overdue announcement to introduce a visitor tax to local authorities – TVL that can support wider cultural offerings, TVL that can help provide better basic services and TVL that will support wider infrastructure across the city.”
Mr Day said the timetable would allow Edinburgh “to prepare as a city and prepare as a business to deliver TVL”.
He added: “We acknowledge, of course, that this has been a very difficult time for our cultural and hospitality industries and we are committed to working with them, the wider tourism sector and other partners to produce a system that works better. throughout our headquarters.
“I will be pushing the Scottish Government hard to ensure that any revenue raised is added to our block funding – not in place of it – and we are in a position to benefit from this very quickly.”
But another Labor councillor, Scott Arthur, the city’s transport and environment co-ordinator, suggested that “2% is not enough”, adding that the effort should be “more ambitious as a city”.