Edinburgh Council's Labour administration is taking backseat driver advice from the Tories – Angus Robertson MSP
Edinburgh’s transient visitor levy is a welcome policy that will allow us to protect and build our city as more and more people visit every year.
The proposals were developed by the SNP administration led by Adam McVey and, put simply, ask visitors to pay a small amount per night to support their stay in Edinburgh. We expect it to generate about £15 million a year.
Following widespread consultation, the levy – or ‘tourist tax’ – gained the support of 90 per cent of the citizenry of Edinburgh and most of the city’s MSPs and MPs.
In the council, things have not been as easy-going, despite the huge support. The new Labour-led council which is supported by the Tories and Lib Dems has been charting an unnecessarily complicated course.
When debating the proposals in late September, the SNP worked to bring a constructive amendment to outline further steps required, which was subsequently endorsed by the Lib Dems, Greens and Labour.
However, the Tories declared themselves against the plans and proposed their own tweaks. It was not necessary to adopt these, but the Labour administration did so anyway.
Why? Well, this is the price one pays for their deal with the Tories, helping them control the council with a very small proportion of the total number of seats.
It shows that this council is back-seat driven by the Tories. The Tory tail wags the Labour dog. The SNP will continue to push for progressive change in opposition but are also ready to govern with a strong, unified administration – without the need for the Tory's say-so.