SNP councillors would back a £2 a night “tourist tax” if they are elected in May, group leader Adam McVey has said.

The charge would apply to each room per night, be capped at £14 and include holiday lets through companies such as Airbnb.

A “Transient Visitor Levy” was backed by the SNP in 2019 as a way of generating revenue, but the pandemic put the plan on the backburner, and councillors still remain divided on the issue.

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The last administration of Edinburgh City Council was an SNP-Labour c-operation, but with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar coming out against power sharing, it is unlikely that a deal will be struck between the two parties again.

Speaking to the Daily Record, SNP council leader McVey insisted his party would look to introduce a tourist levy after May.

He said: “Edinburgh is a world-class destination for tourists. The festivals are the largest of their kind anywhere in the world and, in most years, Edinburgh Castle is the most visited attraction in the UK outside London. The sector employs tens of thousands of people.

The National: McVey said SNP councillors will back a £2 a night tourist levy in EdinburghMcVey said SNP councillors will back a £2 a night tourist levy in Edinburgh (Image: PA)

“But we all know that this footfall also strains the city’s capacity.

“The capital has to work hard to maintain the infrastructure that supports being a tourism hotspot – from keeping the streets clean to providing the transport links essential to getting around.

"And we also have to find ways to keep investing in our cities’ parks, museums, facilities like public toilets, and culture if we’re going to stay in the premier league of holiday destinations.

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“While the Conservatives would just see city residents keep footing the bill, SNP councillors will introduce a fairer alternative.

“Anyone who has been on a city break in Europe knows that per-night charges to tourists are normal. Cities around the continent have realised that this is a simple, fair and accepted way of raising money to help deal with the pressure that comes with being a popular destination.”

He added: “The number one concern right now for business is staff availability, so some of this revenue could also be used to support people into these jobs, not only helping businesses but helping people across the City into fair work.”

The National: Pre-pandemic, Edinburgh welcomed millions of visitors each yearPre-pandemic, Edinburgh welcomed millions of visitors each year

The Scottish Government conducted research into the impact of short-term lets in Scotland, noting that of the 32,000 Airbnb listings in Scotland in May 2019 - over half of those were in Edinburgh and Highland council areas.

In July 2014 the capital city had 1900 listings for AirBnB, by July 2017 this had risen to 9000.

In 2019, Edinburgh welcomed 4.9m visitors to the city.