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Tourism tax could "devastate" local businesses

Created on 30/10/2017 @ 11:50
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Local businesses could be hit and even close if a planned tax is introduced by the Welsh Government, Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George has warned.

Mr George has led calls for the Welsh Government’s controversial proposals to place a tax on tourism to be shelved immediately.

He sponsored a debate last week proposing that the National Assembly for Wales “does not believe a tourism tax should be implemented in Wales.”
It responds to plans outlined by the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance to introduce a tax – one of four potential new taxes being considered – which could result in charges to visitors staying in accommodation.
With many businesses in Montgomeryshire working in the tourism sector, the potential could be devastating for the local economy, said Mr George.

“This ill-conceived proposal for a tourism tax would devastate the tourism sector in Mid Wales," he said.
“It would compromise the progress which has been made to boost Wales’ visitor economy; undermine business sustainability, investment and employment opportunities in the tourism sector; and put Mid Wales at a serious disadvantage compared with other locations across the border in England.
“The prospect of introducing a tourism tax will harm Wales’s competitiveness and heap additional pressure on an industry which already pays tourism VAT and which also has concerns about the impact of increases in business rates, wage increases, rising inflation and escalating food and energy costs.
“The mere suggestion of a tourism tax has spooked the industry and damaged confidence in Wales’ tourism sector so I am urging the Welsh Government to immediately drop this proposed tax from their shortlist to provide much-needed certainty to the tourism industry and send a message to businesses across Mid Wales who rely on tourism that they will be supported rather than penalised.
“We should be giving the industry the tools to allow it to continue making a huge contribution to job creation and growth across Wales. It’s the job of the Welsh Government to attract people to come and spend money visiting our beautiful country, not fleece them by levying an additional tax on them as soon as they cross the border.”

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