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Scottish Government postpones tourist tax due to coronavirus

By Scott Maclennan

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Cabinet secretary for the economy, Fiona Hyslop.
Cabinet secretary for the economy, Fiona Hyslop.

News that the Scottish Government has decided to postpone consideration of the transient visitor levy or the tourist tax due to the coronavirus has been warmly welcomed.

The announcement was made by economy secretary Fiona Hyslop in the Scottish Parliament and was related to a raft of measures to bolster businesses.

Now many in business remain uncertain whether the bill can be revived as the tourism and hospitality sectors have been among the first and hardest hit areas of the economy.

In another blow to the new tax, Highland Council’s tourism committee was due to consider it but the meeting was postponed.

The council has got so far in its deliberations that it has started to consider what it would spend the revenue on if the Bill did indeed become law.

Stewart Nicol, chairman of the Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said: "I am delighted at the appropriate and pragmatic announcement by Fiona Hyslop.

Inverness Chamber of Commerce's Stewart Nicol.
Inverness Chamber of Commerce's Stewart Nicol.

"In the long-term the hospitality and tourism business, which in many ways are the backbone of the Highland economy, are going to be under extreme pressure.

"That is why I think the transient visitor levy will have to be reassessed. We are in the chamber are part of a network of businesses who were strongly opposed to it in the first place.

"There will be significant challenges even without the levy so I certainly hope that it will be looked at again."

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