The unchecked growth of tourism over the past decades has exacerbated the housing crisis in Edinburgh. Developers and landlords have taken full advantage of over-tourism to hollow-out our homes and communities in the name of soaring profits.
In May 2023, the Scottish Government announced the development of a “visitor levy”, or tourist tax, to come into effect in 2026. However, provision for local authorities to spend tourist tax money on housing goes unmentioned in the proposals on what the money will be spent on.
The City of Edinburgh Council have just recently declared a housing emergency. New rents in the city have increased by 18.4% over the last year, and over 80% over the last decade, 30% above inflation.
Edinburgh also has a dire shortage of social housing. Thought the council has committed to putting a sizable number of the 1,500 empty homes back into use through repairs and development, this is not anywhere near enough to house the 23,000 on social housing waiting lists in the city.
It is time that the council put their money where their mouth is and ensure the tourist tax is used to alleviate the housing crisis for the thousands of tenants in need in Edinburgh. It is time that Edinburgh is a city for both its residents and visitors.
The Tourist Tax has the estimated potential to generate £37 million annually. Sign this petition to call for a significant of this money to go into:
- Building more council homes
- Repairs and retrofits to existing council house stock
- The Housing Discretionary Fund