Green’s fury after tourist tax blocked

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A CITY councillor whose plan to tax the Capital’s tourists was scuppered by Scottish ministers yesterday has blasted Alex Salmond’s “short-sighted” government.

Green Steve Burgess gained the support of fellow city councillors in introducing a “bed tax” which would see visitors charged an additional £1 or £2 per night levy. The plans were blocked, however, when Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing stepped in to say that local authorities have no legal powers to implement such a levy.

Councillor Burgess said the scheme could bring in up to £10 million a year – and would not put tourists off.

“While the SNP want more powers for Holyrood, it seems they don’t want anyone at a local level having their own say,” he said. “It’s hugely short-sighted if Alex Salmond’s government is going to prevent Edinburgh from raising what would be a very small levy.”