SNP MSP Fergus Ewing has joined the ToriesLabour and LibDems to call on the First Minister to pause the short-term lets licensing scheme.

A total of 37 MSPs, including all 31 Conservatives and party leader Douglas Ross, three frontbench Labour MSPs and two LibDems signed a letter to the Humza Yousaf alongside Ewing.

The former rural economy secretary said that the “misconceived, costly, and bureaucratic” licensing system should be paused or it will cause “irreparable damage” to the sector.

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It comes after Scottish Tory leader Ross challenged SNP rebels to work with his party to bring down the Bute House Agreement, and urged them to join opposition to the licensing scheme.

“If this misconceived, costly, and bureaucratic licensing system is not halted now, it will cause irreparable damage to a sector with thousands of businesses impacted - some of whom may well simply give up,” Ewing said.

“I know some who already have and have been inundated in my constituency with small businesses pleading for the system to be suspended or scrapped.

“The costs of compliance, in some cases are ten times greater than the Scottish Government estimated.

The National: The FM has repeatedly ruled out a pause to the schemeThe FM has repeatedly ruled out a pause to the scheme

“That’s outrageous. The whole scheme is collapsing under its own weight of complex bureaucracy. It won’t work."

The FM has repeatedly ruled out pausing the scheme despite growing pressure from the sector as the October 1 deadline draws closer.

We told how Ross said that the Tories will force a vote on the issue when Holyrood returns from recess. 

The former tourism minister claimed that reducing the number of short-term lets will hike up hotel prices and make tourism in Scotland “affordable only to the better off”. 

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“There has never been any proper attempt by the Scottish Government to even try to measure the damage these regulations will have on small business and the wider tourism economy,” he added. 

“If they don't suspend the regulations now, they will find out the hard way just what a huge blunder these regulations are and forfeit the trust and confidence of many former supporters.”

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie (below) added: “The SNP’s botched regulations will cause chaos for short-term lets and will fail to address the housing crisis. 

The National: Jackie Baillie

“Their centralised one-size-fits-all approach rides roughshod over local needs and risks undermining Scottish tourism. 

“They must reconsider these plans and develop an alternative that will empower local communities to regulate short-term lets themselves in line with their own needs.” 

Meanwhile, Ross claimed that despite industry warnings “SNP-Green ministers have shamefully refused to address their concerns”. 

"This refusal to listen makes a mockery of Humza Yousaf's promise to reset his relationship with Scotland's businesses,” he said. 

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"Rather than adding to the pressures they are facing during a global cost-of-living crisis, he should recognise that this scheme could ultimately send many of them out of business." 

Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) who have been campaigning against the scheme, claimed the legislation is “flawed” and will make Scotland a “laughing stock”. 

She said: “Scotland is about to repeat its mistakes unless there is a delay. We urge the First Minister to intervene and delay this draconian inherited legislation. 

“If he won’t listen to us, perhaps he will take note of his parliamentary colleagues who rightly share our dire concerns, and the tens of thousands of honest, hardworking people this policy is about to destroy.”

We previously told how experts in Europe said claims that licensing short-term lets would make Scotland a “laughing stock” were “ridiculous”. 

The National: Short term lets will have to be registered by October 1Short term lets will have to be registered by October 1

Schemes have been introduced in a number of European cities across Europe including Barcelona, Paris and Berlin in an attempt to regulate the sector and deal with housing issues.

On Tuesday, it was confirmed that the number of people homeless in Scotland had seen a large increase this year, with numbers now beyond pre-pandemic levels. 

In the letter, the group of MSPs said that the FM has “every right to pause” the legislation until a “workable solution” is found. 

It reads: “We are not asking you to scrap the principles, instead we are asking for your help to protect countless Scottish businesses - and the people and families that depend on them -from entirely avoidable hardship. 

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“Ministers must pause the introduction of the legislation and urgently reassess its effects on not only the tourism sector but the wider economy and people’s lives. 

“Scotland is rightly proud of its global standing as a tourism destination, but this should never be taken for granted.”

The letter was signed by Ewing, all 31 Tory MSPs, Scottish Labour's Baillie, Daniel Johnson, Edinburgh MSP and economy spokesperson, Mark Griffin, and LibDems Liam McArthur and Willie Rennie

The SNP have been contacted for comment.