Punishing Wales’ vital rural tourism industry will not solve the affordable housing crisis

Responding to the written statement by the Welsh Government Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans MS: The classification of self-catering accommodation for local tax purposes, 24 May 2022, CLA Cymru Director, Nigel Hollett, says:-

We are disappointed that the Welsh Government is targeting hard working providers of tourist accommodation, despite feedback it has received in the consultation process. Government must clearly distinguish between its commitment to tackle the affordable housing crisis, the issues it has with second homes, and the genuine holiday letting industry, which contributes so much to the Welsh economy.

The legislation will not be enforced until 1st April 2023 so we now urge the Welsh Government to provide clarity about the criteria, which would enable most intensely affected businesses to apply for exemptions. These include where:-

  • Planning restrictions prevent holiday lets from legally being used for more than a defined period in a year
  • Let properties that have shared facilities with the letting manager’s home
  • Large holiday lets are impacted. These tend to experience less demand from large families or groups outside the school holidays
  • Seasonal holiday lets form an integral and vital part of a farm business

We also ask Welsh Government to examine how its’ legislation will be enforced by already stretched local authorities, fairly and consistently, throughout Wales.

Finally, Welsh Government must set out proposals for a safety net for tourism businesses that will no longer be viable. Welsh businesses here, including many farms, which have been previously encouraged to diversify to create new revenue-streams, will need support at a time of ongoing uncertainty, and where demand for holidays may be reduced this year owing to the increase in the cost of living.