​Visitor levy will help residents and tourists - Cammy Day

Cammy DayCammy Day
Cammy Day
​Edinburgh has an enviable reputation across the world as a bucket list destination; frequently appearing in the top of national and international cities to live in, visit and invest – for instance, just last week Leith was voted one of the best places to live in 2024.

​I’m proud that Edinburgh is one of the world’s most popular visitor destinations, however I’m equally aware that this success comes at a cost. That’s why I was pleased to see legislation giving Edinburgh, and other Scottish local authorities, the power to introduce a visitor levy take another significant step forward in Parliament last week.

If approved, the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill will allow a charge on overnight visitor stays, with the funds raised used in the city to benefit residents and tourists alike.

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It’s not just visitors who love our city, residents do too with 94 per cent interviewed in the recent Edinburgh Partnership survey saying that they were happy with life here in the capital.

Research like the Edinburgh Partnership survey is incredibly insightful for our own future planning and the feedback will help us to keep improving the way we serve Edinburgh’s residents.

The results also demonstrated that deprivation is the most significant factor impacting life. The rise in inflation and the continuing cost-of-living crisis mean that many residents are facing the most difficult financial circumstances ever. We are working extremely hard to lessen the impacts, however the reality is that we are Scotland’s lowest funded council and ending poverty is not something we can do alone.

I remain committed to doing my utmost as council leader along with colleagues and our city’s partners to improving the situation here in Edinburgh as there’s still a lot more work to do.

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Last, I would like to touch on the events in Bonnington where a fire broke out in a block of flats in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Thankfully everyone was quickly evacuated to safety and after 12 tireless hours by 70 firefighters, the fire was successfully put out. Unfortunately two firefighters were injured in the line of duty and I wish them a speedy recovery. As ever, our gratitude goes to them and their colleagues for keeping the community safe.

Sadly many residents, including young families, have been displaced. However, on my visit to the rest centre set up by our Health and Social Care Partnership colleagues, I was able to see first hand just how quickly the local community had rallied round to support them.

By lunchtime, local businesses and charities had donated food, blankets and warm clothes. This on top of the incredible support from our council housing and health and social care teams meant that the rest centre acted as a warm and comfortable sanctuary during what was clearly a very distressing, uncertain time for the residents – all of whom thankfully all had a guaranteed roof over their heads by the time I left.

My thoughts are with them as they look to rebuild their lives and we’ll continue to do everything possible to make sure they have a safe place to live and get all the support they need.

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