Colin Smyth MSp
Colin Smyth MSp

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Affairs Spokesperson Colin Smyth has questioned the Scottish Government over proposed legislation to regulate short term lets.

In February, the Government was forced to withdraw legislation aimed at regulating short-term lets after ministers had drawn up a licensing scheme to give councils new powers to tackle problems caused by the rapid growth of Airbnb-style holiday lets in response to concerns from residents in some popular tourist destinations. There had also been fears that the growth of these lets was pushing up rent levels for other properties. Concerns were also raised over increased litter, noise and anti-social behaviour.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament last week (15 June) during a topical question session, Colin Smyth asked Cabinet Secretary for Housing and Local Government Shona Robison about the ‘extra burdens’ being placed on bed and breakfast businesses and rural providers of self-catering accommodation.

Colin Smyth said: “Does the cabinet secretary accept that the previous proposals for regulation caused widespread concern about extra burdens being placed on bed and breakfast businesses and rural providers of self-catering accommodation to tackle a problem that is, ultimately, about antisocial behaviour and the lack of housing in cities?

“Will she consider the more flexible approach of allowing local authorities to determine whether they need a licensing system to tackle local problems in their areas?”

Speaking after the session, Colin Smyth added: “It is very important that this legislation is fit for purpose. One size certainly doesn’t fit all in this case and something which is a serious issue in the centre of Edinburgh, does not exist in the same way for a bed and breakfast in Portpatrick.

“I hope the cabinet secretary takes my comments on board and gives local authorities the flexibility to deal with the issues which actually exist in their areas.”

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