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MSP blasts new accommodation rules

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By Fiona Reid
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MSP blasts new accommodation rules

A WARNING has been given that many short term let accommodation operators in the region could be forced to close unless controversial new regulations are halted by the Scottish Government.

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson joined a protest outside the Scottish Parliament to highlight the potential damage to the industry if the proposals go ahead.

He said: “Local businesses are already telling me that they are facing large cost increases preparing for these regulations and, worryingly, some are saying they will be forced to leave the industry altogether.

“We must pause this scheme now to allow a full appraisal of the situation before any serious damage is caused to what is a crucial industry in my constituency.”

The new licensing regime for short-term, Airbnb style lets is due to come into force in Scotland on October 1, with some property owners having to pay thousands of pounds before they apply for a licence to continue trading.

Ministers maintain the scheme will ensure short term let properties are regulated in the same way as other types of accommodation, such as hotels and caravan parks.

But Mr Carson fears it could result in many operators quitting the sector after a survey by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) found 64 per cent are considering leaving.

He explained: “The ASSC has accused the Scottish Government of demonising law-abiding people who let their properties for self-catering or welcome guests into a spare bedroom, while at the same time signalling to tourists that they are not welcome.

“Nothing could be further from the truth as I know many of the operators in Galloway and West Dumfries are famed for their hospitality and excellent service. This sector is vital in assisting the local economy and other businesses in the area.

“The government is effectively stripping Scotland of the very accommodation needed for a thriving tourism industry.

“My fear is that self-catering hosts are already abandoning the sector and, holidaymakers who are vital to otherwise fragile communities – could be set to follow suit.”

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