Call to boost education coffers by taxing tourists

Education budgets should be boosted by applying a “tourist tax” on visitors to Scotland, according to members of the country’s biggest teaching union. Tes reports.

A debate at the EIS annual general meeting in Dundee later this week will call for a scheme similar to that implemented in Venice, amid concerns over “huge” cuts in local authority budgets in recent years.

The idea stems from the union’s Edinburgh branch, whose motion will call for an investigation and report into a potential “tourist tax to raise revenue in local authorities that can be used directly to support the education budget”.

Edinburgh EIS secretary Alison Murphy told Tes Scotland that there was a “desperate need to increase revenue” and that a tourist tax in Edinburgh could bring in about £15 million a year, which would be “not nearly enough to compensate for shortfalls, but a significant help”.

She said that such an approach worked “successfully in a huge number of other cities around the world”, as she learned during an Airbnb stay in Venice last October.

They made the decision after a report found that the city’s hospitality sector could “comfortably absorb” a small price rise, with a charge of £1 per person per night predicted to generate more than £11m each year.

Read more Call to boost education coffers by taxing tourists

What do think? Should the whole of the UK be considering this?  Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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