Glasgow tourist tax plan to charge visitors as soon as possible

Tourist tax is on the way for Glasgow
-Credit: (Image: Daily Record)

Glasgow councillors have agreed to bring in a new tourist tax for the city as soon as possible with hopes it could raise millions.

It would see visitors pay an extra charge on top of overnight accommodation costs.

There are hopes it could be brought into force as soon as the financial year 2026 to 2027 - in year three of the council's current budget.

Read More: Glasgow councillor calls for illegal drugs to be available from pharmacies

Scottish Greens councillor Blair Anderson gained approval today at a council meeting to kick start the process to make the visitor levy a reality and said "there is no time to waste."

He hopes tourist tax money could start trickling into the local authority by year three of the budget period, which began in April.

Councillor Anderson would like to see the cash spent on parks, street cleaning and cultural venues among other services to benefit residents as well as visitors.

He said: "There is more than enough money out there in this country to fund public services properly to tackle the climate crisis, to lift children out of poverty. We just need to tax it fairly."

Seconding the motion, Scottish Greens councillor Holly Bruce stated: "In 2022 alone we attracted £2.56 million visitors. A visitor levy is a no brainer for a city like Glasgow."

She added: "Councils are strapped for cash, have limited revenue raising powers are disenfranchised from doing the right thing by our constituents because of fiscal limitations placed on us and the centralisation of power."

City treasurer councillor Ricky Bell moved an amendment that the tourist industry must be involved in the introduction of the tax.

While supporting the motion, SNP councillor Bell said: "I have to inject a little bit of realism."

He said "we have to be careful in setting expectations" about how much money the levy could raise."

Although calling for the levy to be introduced as soon as possible he pointed out Scottish Government legislation is "restrictive" in what the tourist tax can be spent on and it can't be used to solve "budget problems."

Councillor Anderson added that £10 million to £20 million could be generated from the tourist tax but the time frame for that amount being generated was not mentioned in the meeting. He admitted that the levy couldn't close a £110 million deficit that was faced by the council in response to councillor Bell's comments.

The accepted motion with the SNP amendment said there is to be speedy preparation of "an outline of the proposed scheme " among other actions including an assessment of the impacts of the proposal in Glasgow.

It also added that the "council believes that early and ongoing engagement with Glasgow’s tourism and visitor industry (including the Glasgow Tourism Advisory Forum), trade unions, tenants unions, community organisations and Glasgow residents throughout the process of developing a Visitor Levy Scheme will be vital, while also noting the urgency of council's budget pressures and reiterating the need for speedy introduction of a visitor levy scheme."

The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill was passed in the Scottish Parliament on May 28 granting councils the the power to impose the visitor charge.

Join Glasgow Live's WhatsApp community here and get the latest news sent straight to your messages