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Majority of Edinburgh businesses would support tourist tax

69% of businesses surveyed by the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce would support the introduction of a ‘Tourist Tax’ in Edinburgh, with a further 79% saying they would support it if the money was reinvested into the city’s infrastructure.

The idea of a transient visitor levy (TVL) in Edinburgh has been debated at a local and national level for over a decade. In 2017, the City of Edinburgh Council agreed to continue to make a case to the Scottish Government for the introduction of a levy, and earlier this year the Scottish Government announced a national consultation on the matter.

In September, Edinburgh City Council published details of what the tax could look like if it were introduced in the capital.

The plans include a charge of either 2% or £2 per room per night, chargeable all year round on all forms of accommodation, including short-term lets, but capped at seven nights.

According to the council, it could generate ‘at least’ £11m per year in additional income for the local authority.

Other major European cities such as Paris, Rome and Berlin all charge a visitor levy.

Council Leader, Adam McVey, said: ‘It’s very welcome to see nearly 70% of Edinburgh businesses backing the introduction of a tourist tax. It’s also encouraging to see half of businesses in our hospitality sector recognising the need to create a long-term investment to support the continuing success of the city.

‘These findings give yet more weight to our current plans and consultation, which is giving everyone the chance to have their say.’

Liz McAreavey, CEO of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, added: ‘The potential introduction of a Transient Visitor Levy in Edinburgh is one of the most significant issues being discussed in our city and it is only right that business has its say.

‘We look forward to seeing the City of Edinburgh Council’s proposals for the use of funds raised by a TVL and we remain committed to improving the environment for the businesses that serve as the backbone of our local economy.

‘We will be submitting to the Scottish Government’s consultation, articulating our own position and that of Edinburgh’s business community, in due course.’

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