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Tory councillor criticised for ‘absurd’ attempt to ban proposed tourism levy

23 Jun 2023 3 minute read
Inset: Cllr Richard John

A Conservative councillor has been criticised for an “absurd” attempt to ban the Welsh Government’s proposed tourism levy from being implemented in the county he represents.

Cllr Richard John proposed ruling out a potential visitor levy in Monmouthshire during a Council meeting on Thursday (June 22).

The Welsh Government tourism levy proposal is still in its infancy and not likely to be legislated until 2027 with the likelihood of charges not coming into force until roughly 2029.

However, during the county council meeting, Cllr John called on other members of the council to rule out any introduction of such a policy in Monmouthshire, saying a tourism tax would pose “grave dangers for businesses” and could leave jobs “hanging in the balance”.

He said: “Tourists contribute nearly £200 million annually to the economy here in Monmouthshire and they sustain over 3,000 jobs in the tourism industry.

“Sadly tourism in Wales has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Despite it being integral to the value of the Welsh economy, I think its disappointing that the Welsh Government is sadly no friend to the tourism industry here.

“A tourism tax would be massively damaging to Monmouthshire’s tourist economy, adding extra cost to businesses in an area where tourists visiting the Wye Valley already have a choice as to which side of the river to visit.”

Other councillors argued that this was premature and failed to appreciate that the full details of any visitor levy have not yet been finalised by the Welsh Government.

“Fear”

Deputy Council Leader and cabinet member for the Economy, Cllr Paul Griffiths said the motion was “absurd” and accused the Conservative Party of “playing on fear at every opportunity”.

Welsh Government proposals to implement the controversial levy have been met with mixed responses from the public and the policy is still in the very early staged of research and development.

It would give local authorities the power to impose a “small charge” on tourists staying overnight in commercially-let accommodation.

Similar charges are already in place in more than 40 destinations around the world such as Greece and France.

Cllr Rachel Garrick described Cllr John’s suggestion as “project fear on tour” and she urged other councillors to reject the motion.

Cllr Garrick said: “This is purely raising anxiety among business people of our county who need support and assurance that any such policy will be laid out rationally and fairly with definite consideration of its economic impacts.

“It is essential that policy is well researched and implemented with consultation. It is also essential that the council is run in a measured, pragmatic and considered way rather than through knee-jerk politics and we are pleased that the majority of the council understands this need.”

Cllr Griffiths added: “I am taken aback by the claim that a tourist tax is imminent. This is simply not true. The Welsh Government may legislate in 2027 and a tourism tax if made law is likely to be a matter for the council then.

“This motion will prevent consultation with the people of Monmouthshire and debate on a levy that would not be charged, if agreed, until roughly 2029”.

The motion to ban a tourism levy in Monmouthshire was defeated.


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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

Another pathetic Conservative attempt to bypass Senedd legislation that will not even be on the statute book until 2029? What a clown! Conservative cllr Richard John disrespect of Wales and Welsh devolution should be a rallying call to all who value the rule of Welsh law and Senedd Cymru democracy. His treachery knows no bounds. Remember his name and come the next Welsh council elections present him with his P45.. We in Wales should not only wipe these arrogant anti-Welsh Conservatives off the political map of Wales , but also never allow these cretins anywhere near the reigns of power… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

You never hear those same Conservatives mentioning the 20% VAT their UK government levies on every tourist for their hotel and accommodation.
I wonder why ?

VAT amounts to 20% of accommodation costs (many times more than the council’s proposed tourist tax levy) which is totally removed from the local economy of those resorts and spent to plaster the UK incompetance and debt that their policies at UK level have caused

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
8 months ago

The Welsh Conservatives (doesn’t that make them “The Foriegn Conservatives and aptly so considering that they represent The Saesneg Establishment System, which as well as being foreign to the ways of Cynmru, is also in pawn to the interests of foreign corporations and countries?) don’t have any ideas. They have no clue. They have no ideas for policy in Cymru, because they do not represent Cymru, they do not care about the needs of the various people that make up modern Cymru (I like to think of us as “The Land of Our Fathers, Some Real Heavy Mothers, Awesome Aunts,… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
8 months ago

‘Tory gives Wales great idea’. Who’d have thought it? Just take every piece of Tory introduced legislation and ban it. This councillor seems to think it’s as simple as that so get on with it. He should recognise that Sir Fynwy is a Welsh county and therefore subject to the policy decisions of the democratically elected government put it place by the people of Wales. No vandal with a marker pen trying to redraw the border can change that.

Gareth
Gareth
8 months ago

People like this really aught to acquaint themselves with the global tourist economy and how it is implemented worldwide. This week the French Gov has said it will use social media influencers to dissuade people from going to the most visited attractions, to combat over tourism, while our Gov is attempting to create sustainable tourism in the future. This person and his ilk have no clue beyond their small little world.

Richard
Richard
8 months ago

Richard is one of the few really able councillors the Torys still have left in Wales and is well known for being evidence based in his workings.

Its sad thus to read he is running with the likes his local MP David Davies and Lady Finch Saunders of Llandudno.

Richard should kmow the great benefit these Tourism Taxes bring in other countries and how their providers of services see them as a way of increasing local services and facilities from Car Parks to Toilets to
enhanced community transport and landscaping etc etc .

Monmouthdhire deserves the gain thrse benefits Richard.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  Richard

This is because it’s an ideological and emotional response, and speaks volumes about how such people view Cymru – as a playground to use on their own terms. And they don’t like it when someone else calls the shots. So it’s more about that, I think, than a blanket opposition to a tourist tax in principle.

Bachgen o Lerpwl
8 months ago

There is a well substantiated and balanced article on this issue in the Shropshire Star explaining how this tax is a hot 🥔.

Richard
Richard
8 months ago

‘ Tatws Poeth ‘ my favourite 😻

Erisian
Erisian
8 months ago

Why do so many commenters seem surprised, and how on earth can they still find the energy to express their outrage.
Like any Tory he is simply doing his masters bidding.
He has conned some Welsh people into voting for him, and as was entirely predictable, he will put St Steffan’s interest above theirs – that’s his job.
He doesn’t give a fig for any of us.

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