Tories say Plaid want to ‘clobber’ tourism after being accused of ‘misleading’ voters with VAT cut pledge
The Conservatives have accused Plaid Cymru of wanting to “clobber” tourism in Wales, after Plaid Cymru said that the Tories were “misleading” voters over a pledge to cut VAT on tourism businesses.
The row was caused by a Welsh Conservatives pledge to “build a better Wales by cutting VAT to 5% for the tourism industry to allow the sector to recover”.
Plaid Cymru accused them of misleading voters, saying that VAT is not devolved to Wales.
Campaign director Liz Saville Roberts MP said the claim was the “lowest form of inaccurate electioneering” and proves that the Tories are back to their “misleading and manipulating best”.
“The Conservatives wouldn’t in fact be cutting VAT at all in Wales if elected as the next Government because they can’t,” she said. “Their narrow-minded belief that Westminster serves us best has seen to that.”
But the Welsh Conservatives said they would refund the cost of VAT rather than devolve the powers so that it could be cut.
They also hit back at Plaid Cymru, saying that their policies would be damaging to the tourism industry in Wales.
“Welsh Conservatives make no apology for supporting the tourism industry, rather than clobbering them with Plaid’s planned tourism tax, and we’ll support businesses directly on VAT until April 2022 to cut their costs and get them back on their feet,” a Conservative spokesperson said.
“Businesses don’t care about the technicalities of how the support is given: they want to know they can be supported into having a future. Something that runs completely contrary to Plaid’s policies of discouraging tourism in Gwynedd and other parts of West Wales.”
🚨 Welsh Labour are refusing to rule out imposing a disastrous tourism tax on #Wales…
❌The tax would be a hammer blow to businesses and jobs.
👷 But we will build a better Wales by cutting VAT to 5% for the tourism industry to allow the sector to recover. pic.twitter.com/WE11sogrTy
— Welsh Conservatives (@WelshConserv) April 3, 2021
Liz Saville Roberts said that if the Conservatives were serious about helping Welsh Tourism businesses, the Conservative government would fund a long term VAT cut through the UK Treasury.
“Businesses will see through this empty promise which confirms again why the Tory party and their habit of being economical with the truth are unfit to be anywhere near the seat of power in Wales,” she said.
But a Welsh Conservative spokesperson said that the criticism was a sign that “Plaid’s campaign is in chaos”.
“From Senedd candidates resigning, dropping all mention of independence on election literature, to openly promoting Welsh Conservative proposals to help save jobs and our tourism businesses, Plaid are in disarray,” he said.
The Welsh Conservatives had earlier this wek said that they fear that the First Minister will introduce a tourism tax if Labour win re-election next month.
Russell George, Welsh Conservative spokesperson for the Economy, however warned that “another hammer blow” from Labour would cause countless Welsh businesses to collapse.
“Normally, the Easter weekend is one of the most important events in the calendar for Welsh businesses, but we know regrettably this is not feasible with the current restrictions,” he said.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price on Friday called for an end to “exploitative” and “extractive” tourism and called for the industry to be developed in a way that helps Welsh communities.
He said that if his party wins the next Senedd election it would create a National Academy for Welsh tourism that puts Welsh culture at the fore.
“For too long, Wales has been exploited by outside interest – the type of extractive tourism that uses Wales as a resource. A Plaid Cymru government will encourage tourist enterprises which provide maximum benefit to local communities,” he said.
“Our culture is rich, diverse and evolving, and our tourism industry should reflect that.”