UKHospitality Cymru is urging the Welsh Government to increase its business rates relief from 40% to 75%, using allocated funds from the UK Government.
Current plans leave Welsh hospitality businesses significantly worse off than English counterparts. A typical pub would be more than £6,000 worse off and an average-sized coastal hotel would be at least £20,000 worse off.
The call comes as UKHospitality Cymru met with Rhun ap Iorweth MS, leader of Plaid Cymru, and Luke Fletcher MS, economy spokesperson for Plaid Cymru, as part of UKHospitality’s cross-party engagement.
Much-needed action on business rates was the focus of the meeting, looking at both short-term support in the form of relief and the pressing need for root-and-branch reform of the business rates system.
Joining the meeting to discuss the realities facing Welsh businesses were leading operators from Top Joe’s Pizzeria, Wright’s Emporium and Bar 44.
David Chapman, Executive Director of UKHospitality Cymru, said: “Welsh hospitality businesses were left dismayed and frustrated by the Welsh Government’s decision to reduce business rates support to 40% relief.
“This was much reduced from the 75% awarded to English businesses, which many had hoped to be carried over to Wales.
“This decision simply intensifies the pressures many are already facing.
“For example, a typical local pub will see their bills rise by £6,500 more than pubs in England. The same goes for our iconic coastal hotels – they’ll be paying more than £20,000 than their English counterparts.
“We had a good hearing from Rhun and Luke, and many of these points were included in Rhun’s questioning of the First Minister yesterday.
“It’s clear we now have a system that punishes hospitality businesses for being based in Wales.
“These tax rises, alongside the introduction of a tourist tax and other punishing regulation, will have a stark impact on local communities, jobs and the reputation of Welsh tourism.
“We’re calling for the Welsh Government to reconsider its level of support and use the funding allocated by the UK Government to implement 75% business rates relief.
“In the long-term, the unfair and outdated business rates system needs to be overhauled, with a root-and-branch reform to bring it into the 21st century.”