Conservative MS slams plans to change rules for holiday rental businesses in Wales
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething is urged to take action to protect ‘genuine holiday rentals’ from possible closure.
As part of the agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru to tackle the housing crisis in Wales, the number of days a self-employed business must be open to receive business rate relief will increase to 252 days per year (an increase of 80%). The property must then be rented for 182 days, an increase of 150%.
At present, to be classed as a business in Wales, gite operators must be open for holiday bookings for 140 days a year and their properties must be let 70 days a year.
Alongside the rate relief changes, from next year Councils in Wales will have the power to charge up to 300% additional council tax on self-employed businesses who fail to let their properties for 182 days.
Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders said the changes would cause many holiday rental businesses to close and described the measures as a “direct attack on the tourism sector”.
Ms Finch Saunders: “If Plaid Cymru really wants an independent Wales, it needs to strengthen the economy and support business.
“What we see is the nationalists in cahoots with the socialists pursuing a direct attack on the tourism sector.”
“Genuine holiday rental businesses here in Aberconwy have made it clear that despite being open all year round, even with discounts applied, they never reach 6 months occupancy.
“The winter season can be extremely difficult, even in honeypots like Llandudno and Betws-y-Coed, and I am aware that there is little or no market in some areas for most Sundays to Thursdays.
“Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labor are once again proving they don’t understand business or the tourism industry.
“They put us on a trajectory in which the value of hospitality in Conwy County could drop from the current level of around £900m and over 12,319 jobs.”
There are around 8,000 freestanding properties in Wales, generating around £134m each year for the Welsh economy and supporting around 4,700 jobs.
Research by the Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA) found that only 16% of B&B operators believed they could work within the proposed 182-day deadline.
Self-catering accommodation has become increasingly important to the rural economy in recent years, with 14% of Welsh’s 34,000 farms now having some form of tourism element, primarily self-catering accommodation.
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