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Scotland Decides

The Barn has been buzzing with political discussion (all good tempered, passionate and extremely well informed) and finally the day has arrived when almost everyone (and over 90% of Scotland’s population has registered to vote) will mark a cross on the ballot paper which will change history. For whatever the outcome – YES or NO – British politics will never be the same and Westminister will have to de-centralise and recognise that people throughout the land want more localised decision making. It’s certainly too close to call and the vote could go either way!

What will it mean for tourism and our visitors? One thing is certain – Cologin will continue to welcome guests from all over the world and Scottish hospitality will not change. In time, there could be some real positives from a YES vote – a reduction in air passenger duty tax has been promised which would encourage more visitors to fly direct to Scotland. Full control over taxation could mean a reduction in VAT on hospitality to put us on a level playing field with Ireland and the majority of other European countries most of whom charge less than 10%  in our industry to encourage tourism. There may also be negatives in terms of the currency, taxation on small businesses, employment laws – you name it – almost everything could have a positive or a negative depending on your viewpoint and personal circumstance!

For the immediate future everything and nothing will change! There’s going to be a lot of negotiation with either result and change is certain – nobody is quite sure what changes there will be or what the consequences are but it’s been pretty exciting to be living through this ‘velvet revolution’.

POSTSCRIPT:
the final result was 55% voting NO (with a record 85% average turnout across the country) so Scotland remains part (albeit a very different part) of the United Kingdom!

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