Edinburgh visitor levy: Wightman challenges FM

Scotland’s capital is being denied “normal European city” status due to Scottish Government inaction on visitor levies, according to Scottish Greens local government spokesperson Andy Wightman MSP.

Andy used First Minister’s Questions today (31 May) to urge the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation to give local councils powers that municipalities in other European countries take for granted.

New research compiled by Edinburgh City Council, debated in the city chambers today, says that a Visitor Levy would not deter tourists and could raise up to an extra £29million a year for local services.

Andy Wightman, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said:

“Local government finances are stretched due to our capital city’s status as a tourism magnet but an obvious solution exists and that is to give Edinburgh and Scotland’s other cities and councils the power of a normal European city – the power to levy a visitor charge. A small contribution per person would generate significant funds to maintain and improve local services.

“Such taxes are commonplace in other European cities and countries, including Paris, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam and Berlin. It’s baffling that the Scottish Government continues to drag its feet on this issue, and I will continue to campaign for real local democracy in Scotland.”