Tourist tax ruled out in Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway Council  Leader Elaine Murray
Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader Elaine Murray

The use of the workplace parking tax and tourist tax have been ruled out by Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Elaine Murray.

In an open letter to residents and businesses in the region, Councillor Murray (Lab) said there were no plans to implement either the workplace parking levy or the transient visitors levy.

The two levies are expected to be written into legislation over the coming year with discretion given to local authorities to determine if they wish to use the measures.

The levies were part of the SNP/Green Budget deal, which leaves Dumfries and Galloway Council with a £16 million funding gap for the 2019/20 financial year.

There has been opposition to the idea of a parking tax from local trade union representatives, who have concerns that low paid workers could be hit by additional charges when driving to work.

In her letter, Councillor Murray confirms there are no plans to implement them in Dumfries and Galloway.

She said: “Under my leadership the council will not be introducing either a Tourist Tax or a Workplace Parking Levy as they are not appropriate for our rural area. Neither address the real challenge facing local authorities which are the cuts in government funding.

“As a direct result of the UK Conservative Government austerity and cuts in funding by the SNP Scottish Government our council faces a £16m funding gap, taking the total cuts imposed on our council to over £100m since 2010.

“There has been much debate by local politicians over the use of both of the Tourist Tax and Workplace Parking Levy over the past week. There have never been any plans, or any desire, to implement either of these in Dumfries and Galloway.

“I would ask local politicians to stand up for our region and argue for a fair funding deal for Dumfries and Galloway which ends the cuts to our council and to local services.”

The City of Edinburgh Council recently back plans for a £2 per night tourist tax.