An MSP has accused Scottish Government ministers of risking jobs by “recklessly” voting through a new a costly licensing scheme for short-terms lets.

Russell Findlay said the “illogical” new rules could bankrupt small businesses who have already suffered harm from lengthy Covid restrictions.

Scottish Conservative MSP for West Scotland region has been contacted by business owners from across Renfrewshire and the West Scotland region which he represents.

All short-term let properties will require to pay for a licence by July 2024 with the schemes administered by local councils.

Organisations including the UK Short Term Accommodation Association, Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, Airbnb, the Scottish B&B Association took part in consultations on the plans but a number of groups resigned a few months later, claiming the group was “not fit for purpose”.

Mr Findlay, said: “These expensive licenses will turn the screw on many small businesses across Renfrewshire, yet the SNP-Green coalition ploughed on regardless

“It’s a one-size-fits all scheme which might be needed for Edinburgh’s rampant Airbnb market but makes little sense for professional B&Bs and other responsible providers of short-stay accommodation across the country.

“These businesses are vital for Scotland’s tourism sector which needs to bounce back strongly after two years of miserable restrictions.

“Frankly, this additional layer of costly red tape is reckless, misguided and illogical. It comes at the worst possible time and further confirms the disregard SNP-Green ministers have for this battered hospitality sector and private enterprise generally.

“The one certainty from their actions is that jobs and livelihoods will be put at risk. I was proud to stand in opposition to these plans and I will continue to stand up for the interests of small businesses throughout Renfrewshire.”

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “This legislation is a significant milestone on our path to bringing in an effective system of regulating short-term lets.

“Our licensing scheme will allow local authorities and communities to take action to manage issues more effectively, without unduly curtailing the many benefits of short-term lets to hosts, visitors and the economy.

“We have already introduced legislation allowing councils to establish short-term let control areas and manage numbers of short-term lets. This is the next step to delivering a licensing scheme that will ensure short-term lets are safe and that allowing them to continue to make a positive impact on Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies while meeting the needs of local communities.

“This legislation covers the whole of Scotland, including island and rural communities, and offers flexibility to local authorities in how it is implemented based on local needs and concerns.

“We appreciate the input from tourism bodies, local government, community organisations, residents and others in reaching this point.”

The Scottish Government say legislation was developed in response to concerns raised by residents and communities about the impact of short-term let properties on their local communities, including noise, antisocial behaviour and the impact on the supply of housing in some areas.

Local authorities will be required to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by 1st October 2022, and existing hosts and operators will have until 1st April 2023 to apply for a licence.

X