COUNCIL bosses in Edinburgh will propel forward plans to roll out a tourist tax in the city – calling on SNP minsters to act quickly.

In her Programme for Government, Nicola Sturgeon announced long-anticipated plans to allow local authorities to introduce a transient visitor levy (TVL) or tourist tax to tally up extra revenue.

The City of Edinburgh Council has agreed to reach out to the Scottish Government and hopes to have a timetable drawn up for rolling out the scheme by November.

A consultation carried out by the city council based on a two per cent charge to visitors was backed by 85 per cent of locals.

Council leader Cammy Day said the policy could raise up to £15m a year for the authority, but insisted it cannot be used to replace the authority's core budget from the Scottish Government.

He said: "We welcome a long overdue announcement to bring in a transient visitor levy for local authorities – a TVL that could support wider cultural offerings, a TVL that can help provide better core services and a TVL that would provide support to wider infrastructure across the city."

Mr Day said a timetable being drawn up will allow Edinburgh "to prepare as a city and prepare as an industry to bring the TVL in".

He added: "We acknowledge, of course, that this has been an extremely challenging period for our culture and hospitality industries and are fully committed to working together with them, the wider tourism industry and other partners to co-produce a scheme that works best for the whole of our capital city.

“I’ll be pushing the Scottish Government hard to ensure that any income generated is in addition to our block grant funding – not instead of it – and that we’re in a position to benefit from this as soon as possible.”

But fellow Labour councillor, Scott Arthur, the city's transport and environment convener, suggested that "2% is not enough", adding that efforts should be "more ambitious as a city".