PLANS to introduce 20 per cent VAT on static caravans have been labelled “potentially catastrophic” for the coastal economy.
Welsh Government proposals to change the VAT arrangements were slammed by Darren Millar, Abergele based AM for Clwyd West, and caravan companies from across the coast.
Mr Millar said plans unveiled by the Welsh Chancellor in his annual budget statement could have a knock on effect on tourism, the largest industry in North Wales, where holiday parks provide accommodation to tens of thousands of visitors every year.
He said: “Many caravan site owners in Conwy and Denbighshire have expressed their concerns to me about the potential impact of the proposed VAT changes on their businesses and have warned that it could lead to job losses in the industry.
“Holiday parks are critically important to the tourism industry in North Wales and I’m proud that Clwyd West is home to some of the best in the country. It’s important that the Chancellor takes these concerns on board so I have written to him to request that he reconsider his plans.”
Mr Millar added that many parks were family owned businesses providing employment to residents, and deserved support from the London and Cardiff Bay governments.
Kevin Airs, manager at Golden Sands holiday park near Rhyl said “I just don’t think they have thought this through. Potentially we could lose up to 30 per cent of our business through this, and that could lead to redundancies.
“It’s potentially catastrophic. We have been signing all the online petitions.”
David Evans, Chairman for Abbeyford Leisure, which runs three parks in the Towyn and Pensarn areas, said: "The proposed VAT increase if passed will be a devastating blow to our already struggling coastal economy.
"If visitors are not buying holiday homes due to this quick fix tax then it’s not only businesses like ours that will be affected, but all tourism reliant businesses from castles and traditional attractions to local shops and hot dog stands."