Taxpayer foots bill after council’s tourism PR company fined

Marketing Edinburgh has failed to file its accounts two years in a row.

Taxpayer foots bill after council’s tourism PR company fined iStock
In October, the council agreed to transfer all assets and current staff to the council.

Taxpayers are being made to foot the bill after Marketing Edinburgh – Edinburgh City Council’s wholly-owned tourism marketing company – has been fined for failing to file its accounts two years in a row.

Last year, Marketing Edinburgh was fined £1500 of Edinburgh taxpayers’ money for failing to submit its annual accounts to Companies House – and has now cost taxpayers another £1500 by failing to do so this year.

In October, the council agreed to transfer all assets and current staff to the council, effectively taking complete control and responsibility for the previously arms-length company and the marketing of the capital.

Conservative councillor Andrew Johnston said: “Two years in a row, taxpayers have been left to pay fines because this organisation can’t or is unable to get its affairs in order.

“This is despite the UK Government allowing all limited companies an extra three months to file accounts, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With each passing month, the SNP-Labour administration’s decision to slash funding to Marketing Edinburgh looks more and more flawed.

“Now is the time that Edinburgh desperately needs to market itself to a global audience yet we have been left with a husk of an organisation that is costing money rather than generating income for our beleaguered tourist industry.

“The councillors involved need to explain what has gone so badly wrong.”

The day after being contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Marketing Edinburgh updated the address and names of the directors of the company, but still has not filed its annual accounts.

The new directors are Edinburgh councillors Mandy Watt, Labour; Claire Miller, Green Party; and Kate Campbell, SNP.

A Marketing Edinburgh spokesperson said: “Marketing Edinburgh is in the final stages of finalising its accounts and will be filing shortly.

“This year has been challenging for all businesses and going forward we anticipate a return to less trying circumstances.”

An Edinburgh City Council spokesperson said: “An automatic fine will be applied and this will be paid by Marketing Edinburgh.”

Story by local democracy reporter Joseph Anderson