McArthur welcomes short-term lets licensing delay

8 Dec 2022

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the Scottish Government's decision to delay the introduction of the short-term lets licensing scheme by six months.

The Cabinet Secretary responsible for the scheme, Shona Robison, confirmed to the Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Committee that the Scottish Government intends to amend the legislation next month to delay the date by which existing hosts must apply for a short-term licence from 1 April to 1 October 2023.

Mr McArthur supported the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers' call for an extension to recognise the enormous pressure on short-term let hosts and businesses at this time in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Orkney's MSP has consistently warned of the disproportionate impact of the short-term lets scheme on rural and island communities and supported the ASSC's alternative proposals for mandatory registration rather than full-blown licensing.

Responding to the news, Mr McArthur said:

"This decision offers some much-needed respite to tourism businesses in Orkney and across the country. It has been hard-won and I pay tribute to the ASSC and wider tourism sector who have made the compelling case for this delay.

"It is clear that this ill-thought-out scheme threatens to impose an additional financial burden on accommodation providers already struggling with a cost-of-living crisis. That could undermine the viability of many small businesses.

"Having railroaded the legislation through parliament, I’m relieved that Scottish Ministers have at least now accepted the case for pausing the introduction to allow more time for the sector to prepare.

"Even so, the scheme has already forced some local accommodation providers out of the sector. As welcome as the delay might be, therefore, it should be recognised that it comes too late to avoid damage being done to Orkney’s vital tourism sector."

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