A TAX on vacant land could be introduced in Wales under plans to be announced today.

But controversial plans for a tourism tax have not been ruled out.

In October the Welsh Government announced a shortlist of four possible new taxes it was considering introducing as part of its new tax-raising powers, which will come into force in April.

These were taxes on vacant land or disposable plastics, a levy to support social care, or a tourism tax.

And it was the tourism tax which proved particularly controversial, with opposition parties claiming it could be seriously damaging to Wales' lucrative tourism industry.

Now finance minister Mark Drakeford has announced it will take forward the idea of introducing a tax on vacant land.

But he has not ruled out the tourism tax, saying the other three proposals would still be investigated.

Mr Drakeford said the vacant land tax idea was being taken forward following consultation, and it was hoped it would stop landowners from leaving land undeveloped for long periods of time, as well as preventing buildings from falling derelict and encouraging regeneration.

“Housing is a priority for the Welsh Government," he said.

"A tax on vacant land could prevent the practice of land banking and land not being developed within the expected timescales.

“The Republic of Ireland vacant sites levy provides a useful starting point for how a vacant land tax could work in Wales.

“The existing model in the Republic of Ireland and the relatively narrow focus of the tax make this the most suitable of the four shortlisted ideas to test the Wales Act.”

Mr Drakeford is due to reveal full details of the proposed new tax in the Assembly this afternoon.

But the Welsh Conservatives' shadow finance secretary Nick Ramsay has called on him to go further and rule out a tourism tax altogether.

The Monmouth AM said: “From the outset, Welsh Conservatives have opposed this ludicrous proposal, one which would devastate the tourism industry and businesses across Wales.

“Tourism is a major employer in Wales, creating hundreds of thousands of much-needed jobs the country over and the Welsh Labour Government needs to reassure the sector by dropping this idea.

"A tax on holiday-makers would be a needlessly self-destructive, damaging local economies and affecting job security by making Wales less competitive.

"It’s the job of the Labour government to attract people to come and spend money visiting our beautiful country – not meet them at the airport, bed and breakfasts or caravans and fleece them.”

According to Welsh Government figures Wales' tourism industry is worth £8.7 billion to the country's economy and supports around 242,000 jobs.

As well as power to set up its own taxes, control over stamp duty and landfill tax will be devolved to Wales in April.

Stamp duty will be replaced with a new Land Transaction Tax.

Control over income tax is due to be devolved in April 2019.