England

Cornwall £1-a-night 'tourist tax' plan by council director

Tourists could be taxed £1 towards the Cornwall infrastructure for each night of their stay under plans raised at Westminster.

Corporate director for the economy, Tom Flanagan said Cornwall's population swells from 500,000 to five million in summer, putting pressure on the county.

On Wednesday he told a select committee that the fee could raise £26m a year.

Cornwall Council said it was one of a range of ideas being looked at.

Mr Flanagan also suggested to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee that the 10% council tax discount on second home owners should be axed.

He said the £1-a night charge would be a "contribution to improve the tourist experience" but finding a way of collecting it could prove problematic.

'Business disadvantage'

A balance had to be made, and he did not want to discourage tourists, he added.

Malcolm Bell of Visit Cornwall said: "I don't think a blunt tax would achieve the objective."

Tim Reed runs Tredethick Farm Cottages, near Lostwithiel and said it was a "dangerous" proposal.

He said £1 did not sound a large amount but it would soon add up and it could negatively affect the tourism industry.

Mayor of Newquay Andy Hannan said: "It puts Cornwall at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the country.

"To levy an extra tax, it puts the businesses in our county at a disadvantage."

A Cornwall Council spokesperson told BBC News the idea had not been discussed with councillors and it was one of a range of ideas that was being looked at.

It was not council policy, they added.

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