Tories have blasted Labour and SNP councillors for voting to hit bed and breakfast business with ‘unnecessary’ licensing costs.

At last week’s meeting of North Ayrshire Council, councillors debated the Scottish Government’s proposals to impose full licensing on all of Scotland’s short-term lets and bed and breakfast businesses.

Conservative Cllr Timothy Billings, from Arran, proposed a lighter touch registration system would achieve the same results but at less cost to the businesses and would be less onerous for the council to administer.

However, SNP councillors, along with Arran’s independent councillor and Labour councillors agreed to support the Scottish Government licensing proposals.

Ahead of the vote, SNP leader Cllr Marie Burns said: “This consultation was completed at the end of October and a lot has been said today about the importance of consultation.

"The overwhelming number of people affected by short term lets, neighbours or local communities, overwhelmingly supported the proposals.”

After the vote, Cllr Billings said: “This is hugely disappointing as these licensing proposals are totally unnecessary and will cost these small businesses a huge amount of time and money.

“As our tourism industry starts to recover from the Covid shock the last thing it needs is to be hammered with burdensome and costly red tape.

“The supporters of the SNP government’s licensing proposals seem to be under the delusion that it will in some way help with affordable housing shortages.

"This is totally not the case as licensing deals with safety and not the control of business numbers.

“I know that Arran has an affordable housing crisis, but at no point will licensing legislation tackle any housing issues.

“I am hugely worried about these licensing proposals and the harm it will cause to the tourism industry.”