The SNP government has backtracked on controversial legislation to regulate short-term lets that tourism industry leaders have said would be ‘damaging’ to the local economy in Moray.
It was announced today that the legislation would be withdrawn from the Scottish Parliament “to allow for draft guidance to be developed”.
A stakeholder working group has been established to help develop the guidance and was due to meet today (Thursday) for the first time.
SNP Ministers still intend to re-introduce the bill in June, however, subject to the outcome of May’s Scottish election.
Visit Moray Speyside has opposed the legislation, arguing it has been designed to tackle a problem that exists in Edinburgh and risks penalising B&B and self-catering businesses in the region.
Scottish Conservative MP for Moray Douglas Ross said:
“This decision to withdraw legislation on short-term lets is another welcome U-turn from this SNP government.
“But this cannot simply be a stay of execution.
“SNP Ministers say they want to re-introduce the bill in June if they are re-elected, so the threat remains.
“Crucially it will require more than fresh draft guidance to allay the fears of many small businesses in Moray.
“I have said from the outset that this bill is an attempt to address a Central Belt issue that doesn’t apply here.
“Self-caterers and B&B operators are an important part of our local economy in Moray and they have endured a really tough time during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This bill will introduce extra costs, more bureaucracy and additional barriers for these small businesses.
“The SNP need to go back to the drawing board, and not simply postpone this unwelcome legislation.”