Several organizations representing catering companies and bed and breakfasts have pulled out of the Scottish Government’s task force on short-term rental regulation.
Representatives from the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, Airbnb, the Scottish B&B Association and the UK Short Term Accommodation Association have left the group, saying it has not responded to concerns raised by the industry concerning the new measures proposed to authorize holiday accommodation.
Fiona Campbell, managing director of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, called the group “nothing but a sham” and accused the Scottish government of “moving the goalposts” and of having acted with “cavalier contempt and indifference” to the concerns and ideas of the industry. .
Earlier this year, the Scottish government postponed its proposals to regulate short-term rentals, which were due to be in place by April 2022, until after the Holyrood election.
However, tourism organizations have complained about the lack of significant changes in legislation, which affects self-catering accommodation, bed and breakfasts and shared apartments, as the reason for the task force’s departure.
The groups say nearly half of lodge operators will leave the area if the planned regulation comes into effect.
Campbell said: “Despite our best efforts and those of our Scottish tourism colleagues, this working group turned out to be a sham and so we decided to leave it.
“Throughout the process, although we have acted in good faith, this government has continuously shifted focus and acted with cavalier contempt and indifference to our sincere concerns and innovative ideas.
‘Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and long before that, the Scottish tourism industry has been a role model for others to follow – so it is extremely disappointing that our government has not been up to the same standards and did not support small businesses at this crucial time.
David Weston, who chairs the Bed & Breakfast Association, said: “Leaving the task force is not a decision my colleagues and I have taken lightly, but it seems pointless to stay.
“We have been frustrated every moment and it will be Scottish B & Bs that will suffer if we continue to participate in what has become a farce.
“Our members expect us to act in their best interests and in the interests of the wider tourism industry, and it has been made clear that neither the Task Force nor the Scottish Government are interested in this type dialogue. “
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘The Scottish Government views the regulation of short term rentals as vital in balancing the needs and concerns of residents and communities with broader economic and tourism interests.
“We have made it clear since January 2020 that the regulation of short-term rentals will include a licensing regime and the working group has always focused on refining and implementing this plan.
“So it’s surprising that these organizations – whom we invited to be part of the working group to express their point of view – chose to leave at this point on the grounds that we are moving forward with licensing, rather than registration, which which has been the case since January. 2020.
“We are disappointed that they have decided not to continue their participation in the working group and thank them for their contribution to the development of legislation and guidance on short term rentals at this stage.”