The Conservatives will tomorrow force a vote at Holyrood on whether to delay new licensing rules for short-term lets, potentially leading to a backbench SNP rebellion.

The Tories will use their debating time to urge ministers to pause the scheme, which has been already delayed six months, for a further year. 

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said that, despite good intentions, the unintended consequences for small, rural businesses could be “catastrophic” if the rules take effect on October 1.

However the Government last night said the change would go ahead as planned.

The move coincided with more than 1,500 people working in Scottish tourism signing a “final plea” letter to First Minister Humza Yousaf asking him to postpone the change.

The new licensing system is designed to regulate Airbnb-style properties more rigorously, in the same way as hotels and caravan parks.

However some businesses have warned the conditions are so onerous they may shut down.

A survey by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) found almost two-thirds of operators were considering leaving the sector over the change.

The veteran SNP MSP Fergus Ewing, who is facing suspension for voting with the Tories on a separate issue before the summer recess, has also called for a delay. 

Mr Fraser said: “Ministers must see sense, listen to businesses and pause these destructive plans before it’s too late.

“This scheme - however well-intended some of its provisions are - is going to have huge and catastrophic unintended consequences if it goes ahead next month.

“It was designed to tackle problem city-centre units, but B&Bs, guest houses and those seeking house-swap arrangements will be hit with crippling additional costs and bureaucracy.

“There is a real danger this will destroy small businesses and have a huge knock-on impact on the wider Scottish economy.

“Ministers risk repeating the mistakes of the shambolic deposit return scheme by ignoring the warnings of businesses and stubbornly ploughing ahead with a fatally-flawed policy.”

The signatories to the final plea said the industry had always supported regulation and considered health and safety to be paramount.

ASSC chief executive Fiona Campbell said the scheme was an “impending disaster”.

She said: “The message to the First Minister is loud and clear: please listen to those who work day-in, day-out in our sector, pause your scheme and work with us on a viable, proportionate and balanced alternative that won’t cause untold damage to Scottish tourism.”

But SNP housing minister Paul McLennan said there had been ample time for operators to get ready.

He said: “Regulation of short-term lets has been introduced at a time of significant growth and change in the sector, and to make sure that accommodation is safe, including gas safety certificates and suitable electrical equipment, as well as responding to community concerns on the impacts.

“Over the past four years, ministers in a range of capacities have engaged with the sector, listening and responding to feedback, this includes several meetings in recent weeks and months.

“We have already brought forward a one-off six-month extension to the scheme, which means existing hosts have had 20 months to comply with conditions and a year to prepare and submit their application.

“No operator to date has been refused a licence, among those who have already applied.

“The responsible thing to do is for everyone to get behind the task of encouraging and supporting those short-term let hosts that must apply for a licence before the October 1 deadline, in order to continue operating.”