Euan McGrory: Tourism tax debate will run and run

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop. Picture: John Devlin
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop. Picture: John Devlin
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If you thought that Scotttish Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop’s apparent dismissal of Edinburgh’s tourist tax plans would be the end of the matter, then think again.

Ms Hyslop might have given city leader Adam McVey short shrift when she took to Twitter to point out he had “no shared plans, no tourist business consultation and no agreement with the Scottish Government”. The issue, however, is not going to go away.

The idea of imposing some sort of “bed tax” on visitors to the Capital has been talked about for many years. And for many years that is all that it was - talk.

Two things make the current debate different. One is the increasingly widespread support for the principle, from many, although by no means all, quarters. There is growing support - or, in some cases, acceptance - from many who rely on the city’s tourism industry for their business as well as from all of Scotland’s cash-strapped local authorities,

The other factor is a hitherto unseen determination at the city council to see the idea through as far as possible. Hence today’s announcement of a public consultation. That doesn’t guarantee success of course, but this particular battle is going to run and run.