Letters: Edinburgh is missing out on tourist tax

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Councillor Claire Miller has her say on the tourist tax in the Capital

I am intrigued by your headline “Conservatives call Capital’s tourism tax dog’s breakfast” (News, June 1).

Many are in favour of a tourist tax

Many are in favour of a tourist tax

I invite anyone viewing the webcast of last week’s council meeting to make sense of the Conservative councillors’ position on a tourist tax.

Their amendment “noted” the report on the transient visitor levy, their group leader then called for it to be ditched, their economy spokesperson said that he supported a levy in principle, and several Conservative councillors showed they didn’t understand the proposals at all when they conflated the levy with taxes on businesses.

As I said in my speech, I believe a local tax that would genuinely increase the council’s budget would be welcomed by residents and businesses alike, because it would pay for all the extra work needed to look after Edinburgh when the population rockets during August.

As my Green colleague Steve Burgess said, in his speech, if the policy been implemented in 2011 when the Greens first proposed it, Edinburgh could have had an extra £100m to invest in services for the benefit of residents and visitors. We are glad that others are now working with the Greens to make our policy a reality.

And, as my Green MSP colleague Andy Wightman said, raising the issue with the First Minister in Parliament, such taxes are commonplace in other European cities and countries, including Paris, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam and Berlin.

Edinburgh is the odd one out here. The only thing that’s a dog’s breakfast in the debate about a tourism levy is the Conservative group.

Cllr Claire Miller, City Centre councillor and Green economy spokesperson, City Chambers, Edinburgh