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Why Glasgow must join Edinburgh and demand a tourist tax

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22.10.2018

I WAS in Edinburgh at the weekend visiting friends and the subject on everyone’s lips was the tourist tax. A public consultation has just opened, and if the locals I spoke to have their way, the four million visitors who descend upon their overcrowded city every year will soon be paying an extra £2 per room, per night, towards things like keeping the streets clean and better toilets.

I nodded along with my Edinburgher pals as they explained why they support the levy. But in the back of my mind I couldn’t help thinking that the city most in need of the income generated by such a tax is along the M8.

Glasgow City Council’s announcement that the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens will close at the end of the year due to a £7 million repair bill has come as a severe blow. Hardly surprisingly, the council doesn’t have a spare £7m, so the inevitable petition is under way, and a legal challenge is also being mooted. But the crisis goes deeper.

To say 2018 has been a terrible year for the city centre is an understatement. We all know how catastrophic the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) fire has been, especially coming on top of the earlier fire on Sauchiehall Street that has caused ongoing damage to an already ailing part of the town.

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© Herald Scotland