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First Minister urged to support Edinburgh tourist tax

The City of Edinburgh Council has proposed the introduction of a tourist tax (Jane Barlow/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has pushed the First Minister to back tourist tax plans.

During First Minister’s Questions, Mr Leonard asked Nicola Sturgeon why she does not back a proposed £2-a-night tourist tax in Edinburgh which is projected to raise around £11 million a year.

The proposal has been put forward by the City of Edinburgh Council and its SNP leader Adam McVey.

Mr Leonard said Mr McVey has told MSPs the council spends more than £1 million extra during festival season to keep the city clean due to the influx of tourists.

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He said: “Does the First Minister seriously believe that increasing the cost of a hotel room by a couple of pounds a night is too high a price to pay for better funded local services?”

Ms Sturgeon said: “Mr McVey has a very strong view on the introduction of a tourist tax, that view is shared by many in different parts of the country.

“It’s not currently Scottish Government policy to have a tourist tax, but of course we will continue to have that discussion.

“We will continue to consider these matters as we approach our budget this year.”

She said the Government would listen to voices from all sides of the debate on the issue, including criticism from parts of the tourism industry, before making a decision.