A RISE in council tax could be relaxed by the creation of a so-called ‘tourist tax’ for a town, a councillor has said.
Councillor Roger Price, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Fareham Borough Council, proposed a tax ‘of around £3’ for overnight guests in Fareham during the council’s debate on its budget for the forthcoming year.
The councillor said during the full council meeting on Friday night that a hotel bed tax for overnight guests in Fareham could help raise funds for the council and prevent the local authority from raising council tax.
Band D residents saw their council tax for the year increase by £5 after the budget was voted through.
The ‘tourist tax’ is being looked at in Bath and London but is already common place in European cities such as Paris and Barcelona.
Councillor Price told The News after the meeting: ‘If you travel around the world, you pay your hotel bill and there’s an added £3 on the end that goes to local authorities.
When people come to Fareham, they get the benefits of Fareham and for us to maintain those services, a small amount of money could help.Councillor Roger Price
‘I have always felt we should be doing this in the UK. When people come to Fareham, they get the benefits of Fareham and for us to maintain those services, a small amount of money could help.’
The councillor added that while Fareham isn’t necessarily a tourist hotspot like Bath, the town hosts many overnight business guests throughout the year.
He said: ‘We have got to look at other ways to raise funds for our much-needed services rather than upping council tax each year.’
The idea has been rejected by the authority’s leader, Councillor Sean Woodward.
He said: ‘Why would we want to tax people coming into Fareham? We are not in dire straits and we are not desperate for funds in order to provide our services.
An increase in council tax for Fareham’s Band D residents had been frozen for seven years until last year.
The leader told councillors at the meeting that the increase was due to a reduction in funds from government.
No budget amendments were suggested by the Lib Dems during the meeting.
Councillor Woodward added: ‘Clearly they are very happy with the budget as they did not put forward any amendments and there was no alternative budget.’