Highland Perthshire’s local representatives are criticising a move from the Scottish Government to introduce local licensing for short term letters.
The government initially introduced the plans to help combat noise complaints against people renting out holiday homes and B&B’s for one or two nights.
Now the Scottish Conservatives argue that the legislation, which would see all short-term letters pay out license fees by 2024, could cause people to loose their livelihoods.
Highland Ward councillor, John Duff said: “I am extremely concerned about the potential impact of this SNP Government scheme on self-catering businesses. The SNP proposes a licensing scheme for all types of self-catering businesses, including B&Bs, guest houses, lodges and glamping pods, and has singularly failed to take on board the concerns of the industry in doing so.
“Self-catering businesses bring in over £720 million to the Scottish economy and the introduction of this scheme could result in many self-catering businesses closing with the additional knock on effect to local economies.”
Although the Scottish Government say that their outreach with the industry has been largely positive.
Speaking at the time, Housing minister, Kevin Stewart said: However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hot spots, high numbers of these arrangements can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in.
“The views and evidence from our previous consultation and research showed broad consensus for some form of regulation.
“Our proposals will allow local authorities and communities facing the most severe pressures to take action to manage those more effectively from next year.”
However, Mr Duff is concerned about the impact this will have on the wider community.
He added: “The closure of many self-catering businesses could do untold damage to the tourist industry and to the supply chain of cleaners, tradespeople, local businesses, and visitor attractions and to our local communities.”
But when the proposal first faced criticism, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, Pete Wishart expressed his favour of the licensing.
He said: “True to form, the Tories have chosen to play to the gallery rather than engage substantively on this issue. As a result, we are now in a situation where a perfectly sensible licencing scheme that is estimated to cost the equivalent of just £11 a month is being cynically weaponised for political gain.”
Councillor John Duff was also backed up by, MSP for Mid Scotland Fife, Murdo Fraser who joined him in his criticism of the proposal.
Mr Fraser said: “The SNP have brought back these misguided proposals after they sneaked them out following Parliament coming off for the summer recess. They need to stop and listen to these business owners.
“This is a major issue for many of my constituents. I have had lots of emails and communication from irate local self-catering businesses over this matter.
“The Scottish Conservatives are committed to standing with the sector to stand against these proposals, which we believe are unworkable in their current format.”