Scottish tourist tax could be ‘very good news for Berwick’

A Borders councillor has suggested Berwick could benefit from a proposed tourist tax being considered by the Scottish Government.

Monday, 11th February 2019, 08:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 15:56 pm
Councillor Mark Rowley

Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, is strongly opposed to the proposal.

“It’s going to be very good news for Berwick,” he told a meeting in the town hall last Thursday.

“You’re going to be £7 a night cheaper in a couple of years’ time if it goes ahead than my constituents just a couple of miles up the road. It’s a really shocking decision.”

In October 2018, Holyrood first minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered a consultation with local authorities following vocal support for a levy on tourist accommodation by some councils.

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The biggest proponent of a tourist tax is Edinburgh City Council, and it is proposing a £2 bedroom charge on all forms of accommodation, including hotels, hostels and short-term lets.

However, Scottish Borders Council has denounced any plans to raise taxation through a tourist levy.

At a meeting of the council’s ruling executive last Tuesday, councillors unanimously voted to notify Holyrood of their opposition.

Coun Rowley’s statement of response, forwarded to the Scottish Government, reads: ‘The council considers that to do so would have a negative impact on the number and expenditure of visitors in the area, owing to price sensitivity.’