ALMOST two-thirds of short-term let landlords have claimed they are considering shutting up shop ahead of the licensing scheme deadline.

A snap poll by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), who have been campaigning for a delay to the October 1 deadline, said that 64% of the accommodation businesses are considering closing due to the scheme.

The ASSC claimed the scheme will “wreak untold damage on Scottish tourism” and urged the First Minister again to “immediately pause” it.

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However, Humza Yousaf (below) has repeatedly ruled out any delay in recent weeks despite numerous calls from the sector for the Scottish Government to do so.

We told how experts in Europe refuted claims that Scotland would become a “laughing stock” for introducing the scheme, as there are already many operating in European cities.

Of the 2015 respondents, just 35% of businesses told the ASSC they will not leave the sector over the legislation, while 93% of those who said they are considering leaving cited the licensing scheme as one of the reasons.

Businesses will not be able to continue operating if they have not applied to the scheme for a licence before the October 1 deadline.

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It requires operators to display energy performance ratings on listings, obtain adequate public liability insurance and put various fire precautions in place.

Short-term let landlords have claimed that the issue is with the cost of obtaining a licence, reportedly ranging from £250 to over £5000, while the Scottish Government pointed out that of those who have applied so far, none have been refused.

The ASSC survey also said that 63% of respondents believe the handling of the short-term let scheme has led to greater division in communities, while 79% said they are worried about their future because of the legislation.

Of those who choose to close their business after October 1, only 15% plan to sell their property.

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Fiona Campbell, chief executive of ASSC, said: “Despite numerous warnings which have regrettably been casually dismissed, the regulations remain unfit for purpose and will wreak untold damage on Scottish tourism and our reputation as a welcoming place to visit and do business.

“Thousands of jobs are at risk in the mainstay of our tourist economy – self-catering and the B&Bs – and that’s before we even consider the impact on related tourism and hospitality industries that rely on their guest spend. This is another policy nightmare the First Minister could do without.

“Rather than unpicking legislation once the damage has been done, Humza Yousaf needs to show leadership right now and support small tourism accommodation providers who are so vital to local economies across Scotland.

“That means an immediate pause to the regulations so Government and business can work together collaboratively – in the spirit of the First Minister’s new deal for business – to get a balanced, fair, and legally sound regulatory framework that works for all.”

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It comes after a group of cross-party MSPs, including all 31 Tory MSPs, three Scottish Labour frontbenchers, two LibDems and SNP rebel Fergus Ewing (above), wrote to the FM calling for a rethink on the regulatory scheme.

The Scottish Tories are expected to force a vote on the issue after Holyrood returns next week.

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.