SECRETARY of State for Wales, David TC Davies, said he was “totally opposed” to a tourism levy in Wales during a visit to Powys last week.

Mr Davies was given a tour of the Judge's Lodging in Presteigne, one of Powys’ most iconic buildings, on Thursday, September 28. It is set to receive £187,557 from the UK Government’s Community Ownership Fund to further develop the much-loved building as a tourist attraction.

The tourism levy, which the Welsh Government is proposing, will give local authorities the power to decide how they want to introduce it. No costs have been decided yet, and the Welsh Government say measures are unlikely to come into force for several years, if they are approved by the Senedd.

But Mr Davies believes it will be detrimental to the Powys economy.

County Times:  Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, speaks to Diane Gwilt, chair of the Judge's Lodging Trust, during a visit to Presteigne Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, speaks to Diane Gwilt, chair of the Judge's Lodging Trust, during a visit to Presteigne (Image: Judge's Lodging)

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have a tourism tax,” Mr Davies, an MP for Monmouth, who took over as Welsh secretary of state in October 2022, told the County Times.

“An overnight levy isn’t going to help encourage tourists to come into the area so I’m totally opposed to that.”

Mr Davies also believes some local authority council tax hikes on second or vacant homes are too high.

Since 2017 local authorities in Wales have been able to charge a premium of up to 100 per cent of the standard rate of council tax on second homes, designed to prevent second home-owners taking over Wales’ top visitor spots.

Under new criteria released in April this year, councils now have the power to increase that to 300 per cent.


“I think that the council tax changes some local authorities are bringing in are too much. Raising council tax levels by three times is going to be unaffordable,” said Mr Davies.

“What needs to be done is to build more houses for local residents. I find this as a local MP, that we need more housing in this country.

“But whenever anyone suggests more houses everyone agrees we need more housing, but we don’t need it right by here. That’s a problem.

“There are too many people for not enough houses in this country and the UK Government [recognises] we do need to control migration because that is an issue. It is driving demand for housing.

County Times:

“But, at the same time, we’ve got to be realistic. I’ve got three teenage children and I want them to be able to own their own homes at some point and that means we are going to have to build houses for a nation that is growing at quite a large rate every year.”

The powers given to local authorities are discretionary, so whether to charge a premium on long-term empty properties or second homes (or both) is, therefore a decision to be made by each local authority.

Supporters of the Wales-only measure say it is crucial to quelling soaring house prices and lack of housing availability, especially for people living locally, but others fear it will cripple Wales' tourism economy.