East Lothian Courier – 8 June 2023


The good weather and holiday weekends have seen visitors flock to the county. Not just the additional numbers but the accents disclose that it’s people come for a break. That’s a good thing as they boost the local economy, spending cash and creating jobs.

But it also comes at a price as the pressure on facilities and services increases, and that all has to be paid for. Why should those costs all be met by local residents? Often public toilets, litter collection and Ranger services on the beaches or elsewhere will be used as much, if not more, by visitors than locals. Surely, those visiting should contribute too.

It’s why I support a tourist tax. Of course, it has to be set at a modest not exorbitant rate and should be hypothecated to support those services that are needed visitors but are currently having to be paid for solely by locals. It’s bad enough many locals being unable to buy a home in their own communities without having the added ignominy of paying for those that are staying in them only occasionally. Indeed, a small charge might well be what allows the council to keep some services open or operating.

The suggestion that it will see tourists stay away is fanciful. It’s common in many European destinations and in America local sales taxes are likewise levied. I’ve travelled extensively and never once chosen to avoid an area because of such an imposition. It was just a cost factored in when booking a hotel in Naples or when shopping or dining in America. It’ll would be the same here.

Last week I mentioned how Ireland was outperforming Scotland including in their funds for communities with offshore wind installations. All indicative of what small nations can achieve with the powers and the will. Now its been brought to my attention that Denmark’s taking a 20% stake in every new offshore windfarm. Meanwhile we’ve the absurdity of foreign state energy companies owning ours. The SNP promised on but failed to deliver. They should be ashamed, and a public share should be taken.