Winter weather shows need for Scottish solution to tourism

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THE Tory/LibDem government have been urged to look again at their proposals for changes to the Furnished Home Letting rules and accept that there is a case for a lower number of letting weeks in more rural areas of Scotland.

Angus MP Mike Weir said: “The recent bad weather has been a perfect illustration of the difficulties facing tourist businesses in Scotland in meeting the minimum level of weekly lets being proposed.

“This is the third year in a row that we have had a difficult winter which has hit them hard.”

M Weir, the SNP Westminster spokesman for Business and Enterprise, had urged the UK government to recognise the needs of such business in his response to the consultation and to allow a lower number of weeks let in more rural areas which have a shorter season.

The UK government have indicated that despite recognising the difficulties they will not allow a derogation.

Mr Weir said that this was a disastrous attitude, especially when the current weather conditions have dramatically underlined the difficulties facing Scottish businesses.

“The UK government recognises the difficulties that such businesses face but prefer to pursue a ‘one size fits all’ solution which will be disastrous for many small businesses in Scotland,” he said.

“We need a sensible Scottish solution that recognises the real needs for our industry. Tourism can play an important part in reviving the rural economy but only if it is given the opportunity to develop in a way that meets the special circumstances they face.”

Mr Weir adds: “It is not yet too late. The UK government must change tack and act to help those businesses otherwise they will be condemned as showing the same callous indifference to Scottish interests as the previous Labour government who sought to abolish the rules.”