British Marine Lobbying Success

Scotland’s leisure marine sector and UK’s wider boating community can sigh a big relief this week as the Scottish Government’s Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill that would have forced marinas and other mooring providers to charge the levy has now been amended.

The draft legislation had incorrectly grouped “boat moorings or berthings” alongside hotels, camping sites, B&Bs, as types of accommodation where the Visitor Levy would have to be charged.  That would have placed a huge and disproportionate burden on mooring providers who do not provide accommodation and would have led to many unfair scenarios that would have been rightly challenged by boaters.

This is why British Marine has been leading the case for change.  Over the last six months, it successfully secured support from parliamentarians and its key partners, such as the Scottish Tourism Alliance and RYA Scotland, to persuade the Scottish Government of the need to amend the Bill.

Chair of British Marine Scotland, Sarah Kennedy, said “We appreciate all the support we have received to help bring about this change, most especially from the Cross Party Group on Recreational Boating and Marine Tourism and its Convenor, Stuart McMillan MSP, who tabled the critical amendment.” 

In response, Stuart McMillan MSP said “I was delighted to propose the amendment to remove ‘boat moorings and berthings’ in the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill and equally delighted it was agreed unanimously by the members of the Local Government Committee at the Stage 2 process.

“The level of engagement from the Cross Party Group which I chair, and crucially the support from British Marine Scotland was key to helping the Minister appreciate the need to change the bill. I am grateful he took time to listen to the CPG and attend a roundtable event I hosted with industry representatives.”

Chief Executive of British Marine, Lesley Robinson, said: “This is a great example of how important it is for government to engage with industry to fully understand its complexities and ensure legislation is as pro-business as possible.  We are grateful that, in this case, the Minister heeded our warnings and I hope this will prove helpful to any other government considering introducing similar legislation.”

The Bill, as amended on 12th March, will now proceed through its final parliamentary stage.

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