Edinburgh tourism tax plan challenged

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A plan to tax tourists visiting Edinburgh that was previously announced by a council leader has been summarily dismissed by Scotland’s tourism secretary.

Adam McVey, SNP leader of Edinburgh council, had said that a city-wide tourism levy was “ready for implementation” next year, a claim that has now been refuted by the national government’s Fiona Hyslop.

She commented on Twitter: “So let’s be clear – you have no shared plans, no tourist business consultation and no agreement with the Scottish Gov.”
Hyslop’s position that local bodies do not have the power necessary to impose such a tax was reaffirmed by an official government spokesman.

“We have no plans to introduce a visitor levy on the tourism sector, which is already subject to the second highest VAT rates in Europe by the UK government.”

The apparent plans that McVey refers to, the transient visitor levy (TVL) would introduce a possible tariff of £1 per room per night for both domestic and overseas visitors to the city. It has been estimated that its implementation would raise £6.8m per year.

He later remarked on social media “All 32 local authority leaders stand with Edinburgh and other councils looking to pursue a ‘tourist tax’ and momentum is building. Hotel industry leaders in the city are also joining the conversation and giving their support to our efforts. I’m confident we will deliver a TVL in the best interests of our tourist economy and the people of Edinburgh.”

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