Conservative MS blasts plans to change rules for holiday let businesses in Wales
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething is being urged to take action to protect ‘genuine holiday lets’ from potential closure.
As part of the agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru to address the housing crisis in Wales, the number of days a self-catering business must be open to qualify for business rate relief will increase to 252 days a year (an 80% increase.) and the property must then be let out for 182 days an increase of 150%.
At present to be classed as a business in Wales, self-catering operators have to be open for holiday bookings for 140 days a year, and their properties must be let for 70 days a year.
In parallel with the rate relief changes, from next year councils in Wales will be given the power to charge up to an extra 300% council tax on self-catering businesses that fail to get their properties let for 182 days.
Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders says the changes will result in many holiday let businesses closing and described the measures as a “direct attack on the tourism sector”.
Mrs Finch Saunders: “If Plaid Cymru truly want an independent Wales they need to be strengthening the economy and backing business.
“What we are seeing is the nationalists in cahoots with the socialists pursuing a direct attack on the tourism sector.”
“Genuine holiday let businesses here in Aberconwy have made clear that despite being open all year round, an even with discounts applied, they never achieve 6 months occupancy.
“The winter season can be extremely difficult, even in honey-pots like Llandudno and Betws-y-Coed, and I am aware that there is little or no market in some areas for most Sundays to Thursday.
“Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour are proving again that they do not understand business nor the tourism sector.
“They are setting us on a trajectory in which the value of hospitality to Conwy County could fall from the current level of around £900 million and over 12,319 jobs.”.
There are approximately 8000 self-catering properties in Wales, generating approximately £134 million every year for the Welsh economy and sustaining approximately 4700 jobs.
Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA) research found only 16% of self-catering operators thought they could work within the proposed 182-day threshold.
Self-catering accommodation has become increasingly significant for the rural economy in recent years, with 14% of the 34.000 Welsh farms now having some form of tourism element, mainly self-catering.
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