The Scotsman newspaper has today published a letter by the Chair of the CSPP, Professor Richard Kerley, in which the expert on local government calls for a tax on hotels in the capital city in order to fund city improvements.
Arguing against the alternative proposal of a “transit visitor tax”, the CSPP Chair writes, “In August and at other busy times, city hotels are able to quadruple overnight rates because of demand; an additional levy of 0.5 per cent or 1 per cent is hardly likely to send people to Manchester, excellent though its (biennial) festival is”.
“Whether such a levy is best managed through a tourism business improvement district (BID) or directly through a business rate supplement needs detailed discussion. A reminder: the most successful tourism destination country in the world – France – has operated such a tax for years and is still successful”, he added.
Professor Kerley’s advocacy is part of the CSPP’s agenda on the need to consider the “bigger picture” on local government finance, local democracy and public service reform. This agenda was outlined in a lead article for the Herald newspaper earlier this month, and also informed the organisation’s submission to the Commission on Local Tax Reform in June, which was complied with CSPP members’ input.