Tourism triumph

THE flawed nature of the plan to tax holiday home owners shows what can happen when politicians fail to think through the consequences of their decisions.

Until the coalition stepped in and reformed Labour's proposals, there would have been the absurd prospect of the changes generating 20m for the Treasury – much-needed revenue in these straitened times – but costing the holiday industry 200m.

Thankfully, this Government appears to be far more pragmatic on such matters than its predecessor and appreciates the importance of holiday homes to the wider rural economy, following a successful campaign by this newspaper.

It is also right that the reforms benefit those who run holiday home businesses, rather than the owners of second homes who occasionally let out their property to visitors.

For, in extolling the virtues of Britain as a tourist destination, it is important that the quality of accommodation remains comparable to the apartments, and properties, that can be let in mainland Europe.

Standards have to be maintained, but this need would have been compromised by Labour's plans which would have made renovation work unaffordable for many.

Yet, while the announcement is welcome, and offers an example of a pre-election pledge actually being honoured, the coalition cannot afford to be complacent on tourism.

Inevitably, much attention, and money, will be drawn to London ahead of the 2012 Olympics – a once-in-a-generation event that will enable the capital city to be showcased to the world.

However, in many parts of rural Yorkshire for example, tourism is now the pre-eminent industry, hence the need for the Government to continue to take a pro-active stance over funding and related issues.