SLE opposes inappropriate regulations on B&Bs, self-caterers and small businesses

Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) has warned that proposed Scottish Government regulations for short-term let accommodation could have disastrous consequences for the rural economy.

The regulations are under consideration by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee. Devised to tackle anti-social behaviour and lack of available housing in primarily urban areas like Edinburgh, if accepted by the committee the regulations will have unintended consequences for Self-Caterers, B&Bs, and small businesses throughout rural Scotland, where SLE say the same issues rarely exist.

With the tourism sector in the grip of economic crisis caused by the pandemic, SLE is urging the committee members to vote against proposals that put jobs and livelihoods at risk.

Gavin Mowat, Policy Adviser (Rural Communities) said:

“Livelihoods of many in the sector are already hanging by a thread due to the COVID crisis. Businesses need support, not further uncertainty.

“Under these proposals huts, glamping pods, wooden lodges and yurts essential to Scotland’s rural economy will face unnecessary and costly regulations. When the Government consulted on the regulations for short term lets, these accommodations were far from the forefront of policy makers’ concerns. Licensing for this type of rural accommodation is completely disproportionate.

“All short-term let operators could be asked to pay a licence fee of potentially £1000 every year, plus an annual ‘monitoring fee’ and possibly further planning fees. If, and when cash flows return to normal, rural businesses from self-catering cottages to yurt or glamping pod operators will have to plan for a future in which operating costs increase without any real benefit.

“The proposals would introduce new red tape for B&B’s. Bureaucracy that would prove not only an inconvenience, but which could cost operators up to £5000 in upgrades to meet the required licensing standards.

“Forcing unwelcome and unnecessary regulations on small rural businesses, the lifeblood of our communities, will not solve problems with anti-social behaviour or lack of residential housing in Edinburgh. Greater care should have been taken to tackle the root causes of these issues without impacting our important rural tourism sector. We strongly urge the committee to vote against these regulations”.