Monmouthshire Conservative councillors have called on the Labour-run county council to review its plans to introduce council tax premiums, which could inadvertently harm the local tourism industry.

From 1st April 2024, all empty homes will face council tax premiums of 100%, 200% or even 300% depending on whether they have been vacant for one, two or three + years. No other council in Wales has imposed council tax premiums as high as 300%. From the same date, a council tax premium of 100% will apply to all second homes in the county, but local Conservative councillors are concerned that small self-catering operators could get stung by the new levy.

The Welsh Government has raised the threshold for the number of nights that a self-catering property should be let in order to stay on non-domestic rates. A holiday let now needs to be let for 182 nights per year or the property gets delisted for business rates and becomes liable for council tax, including any council tax premium.

Conservative Leader Cllr Richard John said, “We warned last year, when Labour councillors introduced the most draconian council tax premiums of any council in Wales, that these penalties could apply to small tourism operators and harm our tourism industry.

Tourism and hospitality are a critical part of the Monmouthshire economy, bringing over two million visitors annually and spending hundreds of millions of pounds in our B&Bs, shops, restaurants and pubs.

“From 1st April, many small self-catering operators are at risk of being moved over to council tax if they fail to reach the Welsh Government’s new 182 day threshold and would become liable for these excessive new council tax premiums.

“Such a premium could put holiday lets out of business and harm our tourism industry. The council needs to urgently review the impact of these changes and either withdraw the premium or at least introduce mitigation measures for small tourism businesses that could get caught up in these changes.

“Our tourism and hospitality sector is such an important aspect of our economy, I would hope the council will act to protect it from its forthcoming penalties.”