Economy Minister urged to respond to North Wales self-catering businesses impacted by new 182-day rule
North Wales MS Mark Isherwood raised serious concerns about our self-catering businesses in North Wales and called on the Minister for the Economy to respond to them. Speaking in the Welsh Parliament, Mr Isherwood quoted self-catering business owners in North Wales who have said that “this is another nail in the coffin of hospitality providers” and that “they are being forced to close because they can’t let for 182 days”. Questioning the Minister over how Welsh Government is supporting small and micro businesses in North Wales, Mr Isherwood said: “Responding to my colleague Tom Giffard last week, the First Minister stated that 'No business is forced to close because they don't let for 182 days'.
“How do you respond to the legitimate small self-catering business owners I met last Saturday, during my Wales Tourism Week visits with the Clwydian Range Tourism Group, who told me that they were being forced to close because they can't let for 182 days?
“And to the Flintshire constituents with a self-catering business within the curtilage of their own home, who have e-mailed that: 'The premium council tax for Furnished Holiday Lets who don't achieve the 182 days and the tourism tax coming in is another nail in the coffin of hospitality providers. Sadly, we've made the decision to sell up. I just hope that the Welsh Government have not made our property undesirable to future buyers. The current Welsh Government have truly messed up our retirement plans and investments so much we'll probably move to England. It is a sad state of affairs when your government makes it so hard for you to earn a living how you want to, and taxes you in such a way that it makes it financially unviable'.”
In his response, the Minister, Vaughan Gething MS, said: “The point the First Minister made - and everyone should really understand this - is, if you don't let for 182 days, it doesn't mean you have to close your business. It means that if you're operating a business for less than half the year you pay council tax, not business rates. And so that's the simple point.”
Unfortunately, the response from the Welsh Government yet again shows their lack of understanding and their willingness to repeat the same tired rhetoric. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Isherwood said: “The number of affected businesses contacting me about this is growing. By introducing these changes, the Welsh Government is condemning large numbers of legitimate Welsh holiday-let businesses to paying these increased Council Tax premiums, which will drive many out of business in consequence and therefore further undermine our rural tourism economy.”