Tourism sector requires small business rate relief reform 

Business rates in the tourism sector need to be reformed according to a Mid Wales Assembly Member.
 
Questioning the Welsh Government's Cabinet Secretary for Finance, the Montgomeryshire Assembly Member, Russell George, has argued business rates for holiday let businesses need urgent reform. 
 
The present position means that some holiday let businesses receive no business rate relief at all, putting them at a disadvantage.
 
Mr George is now calling for reform to ensure that the small holiday cottage sector is supported and encouraged to grow so that it can survive and remain competitive in a sector which is becoming overcrowded with organisations such as Airbnb and other major online booking sites entering the market.
 
Mr George said:
 
"I would like the Welsh Government to investigate how small business rate relief in the tourism sector can be reformed to support the small holiday cottage sector.
 
"Currently, a business with a cluster of cottages at a single location can receive no rate relief, whereas a second home owner with a number of online bookings or buy-to-let investments for example pays less tax.
 
"This can't be right and is effectively a loophole that should be closed. Many of these cottages are genuine businesses who employ local people and use local services; have converted obsolete buildings; and provide additional facilities which enhance the quality of accommodation in areas such as Montgomeryshire.

"I believe that the Welsh Government needs to investigate this situation now and as a matter of urgency to ensure that our tourism industry continues to thrive in five to ten years time and beyond.

"I will continue to raise these much needed reforms with the Valuation Office Agency, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the First Minister to ensure that we guard against this potential threat to the small holiday sector in Wales."