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February 7, 2021

Mini Bite – from Alistair Danter – 8th Feb 2021

Here are a few of the issues occupying SkyeConnect’s time in recent weeks...

Alistair Danter

It has been a busy few weeks with a new tranche of business support funds announced for a range of sectors. SkyeConnect has spent a lot of time seeking clarification on the detail of the schemes from the public agencies tasked with administering them.

In addition, the Short-Term Lets licensing legislation has also occupied much of our time as we lobbied MSP’s and Ministers ahead of the legislation going before the Local Government and Communities Committee in the Scottish Parliament. Despite our best efforts, the proposed legislation is going ahead in its current form. However, there is still an opportunity to influence the legislation through the Short-Term Let Working Group. We hope to be able to invite the Minister responsible for the legislation, Kevin Stewart to a meeting with local operators shortly.

It’s not just on Short-term Lets that we have been actively lobbying on behalf of our members. We are constantly working with the whole range of bodies at regional and national level to ensure issues that matter to Skye are addressed.

“Many thanks to all of you who messaged us acknowledging our work and asked how you can help / become involved – the answer is please join us.  The more people who join us the more representative and influential we can be.”

Here are just some of the things we have been up to:

  • We participated, along with 60+ representatives of Trusts, Community bodies and public agencies, in a workshop to launch an investment plan for Skye & Raasay, facilitated by Architecture & Design Scotland
  • We are working with Edinburgh University Business school to develop visitor management initiatives using vehicle monitoring sensors to be placed at strategic locations
  • SkyeConnect’s Hotels group met this week. 15 hoteliers discussed a range of pertinent issues for the sector: Business interruption insurance, Recruitment issues following Brexit, Staff housing and the need for on-going government support
  • Our latest business survey identified that while a good proportion of tourism providers have been able to access government support, the sectors that have struggled the most are Marine Tourism and Outdoor Activities. We hope that the new VisitScotland fund will start to provide support to these sectors. Wild Scotland and Sail Scotland as industry bodies will be advising VisitScotland in the management of the funds.
  • A SkyeConnect Board meeting with Kate Forbes, MSP, covered a whole host of issues from Short Term lets, Brexit, Affordable Housing, on-going Government support for business and options for a route map out of lock down. Some of the key takeaways from the meeting included an assurance that the Short Term Lets Working Group will have teeth and be able to influence the legislation; The likely costs to operators of the Licensing Scheme and monitoring need to be based on facts rather than speculation; Local Authorities will have discretion when it comes to implementing the Scheme; And on a separate issues, the Board was assured that there would be further clarification with regards to Domestic Rate payer and non-Domestic rate payer grant eligibility by the end of February.
  • The SkyeTime Podcast will make a return this month after a winter break. More information will be posted on the website in due course. If you have a story you would like to have featured on the Podcast email

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