TOURISM should get a VAT cut – and more help from Westminster.
And that is the message from a member of the Government.
Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace today backed The Gazette’s Slash the VAT campaign.
Mr Wallace visited Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach and its secretary David Cam to discuss ways the Government could help the industry.
He told The Gazette: “No government has ever really linked tourism and economic activity the way they should have done.
“Clearly tourism can be a very productive industry and one in which money is never frittered away – it is very responsive.
“It is a responsive and effective industry. I think you would get the money from a VAT cut back quite quickly through economic activity.
“I would support a reduction in VAT – it’s whether the financial situation allows it.”
The Gazette is calling for VAT on accommodation and attractions to be brought in line with other European countries, putting UK tourism businesses on a level playing field.
Rates are as low as six and seven per cent in Germany and France. They are 20 per cent in the UK.
Mr Wallace said the Government could also help in other ways.
He added: “The rail link to London is being talked of again and making the country smaller will help attract families – they can come for a day out with children.
“Electrification of the line will help get Pendolino trains, as operated on the West Coast mainline, back to the resort.
“Local authorities should also look at changing holiday weeks to help – the cost of holidays varies a lot in term time and we can change that.
“And I’d like to see West End shows returning here.”
Mr Cam said: “We’d like to see the Government build on its recent Stay at Home campaign – the advertisement promoting tourism in the UK.
“Our aim is to make the Government take tourism more seriously and we will continue trying to do so.
“Tourism businesses can create a lot of jobs in a very short space of time compared to other industries.”