Tourist tax: Simon Hart told Plaid Cymru MP to ‘remind the dogs’
WELSH Secretary Simon Hart has urged Plaid Cymru to “remind the dogs” about a possible tourism tax the Welsh government may introduce.
The comment came in the House of Commons when the leader of Plaid in Westminster raised the impact of rising energy costs on a small business in his constituency of Dwyfor Meirionydd.
Hart urged Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts to discuss the planned tax with her party leader Adam Price after promising he would speak to the Chancellor about measures to support small businesses with rising energy costs .
His comments could be seen as an attempt to barter over devolved policy areas to Wales after the Conservative Secretary of State suggested a ‘deal’.
The Welsh Labor Government plans to consult on a tourism tax proposal later this year, with councils likely to have a say in how much they could charge visitors to their areas.
The Welsh Government estimates that tourism was worth over £5 billion to the national economy in 2019.
The tourist tax is included in a cooperation agreement between Labor and Plaid.
Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Ms Saville Roberts told the Commons: ‘The Oakeley Arms in my constituency is a superb hostel in a Grade II listed building in the heart of Snowdonia National Park. It’s off-grid, it’s restricted by regulations on energy efficiency measures, and its owners now face quadrupling energy bills.
“Does the Secretary of State agree that small businesses need more support? Will he speak to the Chancellor about extending the price cap to our struggling small and medium businesses? »
Mr Hart replied: “I will certainly talk to the Chancellor as I often do about these things.
“However, as a deal I could perhaps suggest an agreement to her that I would speak to the Chancellor for further information if she spoke to her boss in Cardiff and perhaps he asked her to call the dogs by canceling the tourist tax the Welsh government wants to impose on businesses, causing further hardship for people in his constituency.
MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Ms Saville Roberts, replied: “If the Secretary of State stuck to the powers he has at Westminster, he might have better support. There are no longer any Conservative councilors in any of the councils held by Plaid along the west coast of Wales.
“Rumours of an economic package are rife, not because the government cares about struggling households and businesses, but because, of course, it wants to deflect attention from its own breaches of the law.
“Household energy bills are likely to rise to £2,800 in the fall, but the Chancellor is sitting on his hands until it proves politically practical. Is the Secretary of State not ashamed of the behavior of his government?
Mr Hart said: “I despair sometimes, with the greatest respect.
“I urge him to wait, for what shouldn’t be much longer, to hear precisely what we have in store on the cost of living challenges.”
Prime Minister Mark Drakeford has previously said a tourism levy could be set and collected by local councils and used for facilities such as public toilets which support the local tourism industry.
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