CLA Cymru responds to the Welsh Government Economy Minister’s Oral Statement (15 November) announcing that a statutory licencing scheme is to be introduced in Wales for all visitor accommodation, here.
“The newly proposed statutory licencing scheme for holiday accommodation will be an unfair mechanism to manage the widely-criticised Visitor Levy and will do nothing to solve Wales’ affordable homes crisis,” says Nigel Hollett from CLA Cymru which represents thousands of rural businesses.
“Years of high investment through Visit Wales, coupled with Welsh Government incentives for farms and rural businesses to diversify into tourism now look questionable as the viability of many rural businesses is under threat. Most countryside holiday lets are low-margin operations. More administrative costs and higher regulation will drive them out of the market place as fast as a Visitor Levy and a possible road user levy will drive tourists to more welcoming destinations.”
“There are things to gain from a low-cost registration scheme not only to level-up standards between businesses and the informal, online pop-up market, but also to facilitate support in time of crisis such as the recent Covid 19 restrictions and support structures.”
“Welsh Government Ministers concede that this policy and its’ parallel initiatives against second homes have been developed to solve the affordable housing problem. This is a vital issue and in the rural context should be tackled by a review of the planning system, a new approach to residential conversion for obsolete rural buildings, more support for the private residential letting sector and a committed plan for responsible, sustainable housebuilding.”
“The intensity of impact over a range of policies on rural communities needs to be comprehensively assessed, fully consulted upon and placed under formal scrutiny.” Nigel Hollett concludes, “It is clear that the economic sustainability of rural communities is now a low priority for this Welsh Government.”