New pressure to cut tourism VAT

Account executive Brad Waring of James Brearley and Sons of Burton Road, Blackpool, on the stock market's  ups and downs
Account executive Brad Waring of James Brearley and Sons of Burton Road, Blackpool, on the stock market's ups and downs
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Tourism bosses have once again called for a cut in VAT on tourism to help protect jobs in the region.

The Cut Tourism VAT campaign, which has cross-party support from nearly 100 MPs, is calling on the Chancellor to announce a VAT cut in the Autumn Statement next Wednesday and give hard-pressed regions outside London a much-needed boost.

Many of the new jobs created by cutting VAT on accommodation and attractions would go to young people – 44 per cent of people currently employed in hospitality and tourism are under 30.

Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainment which runs Blackpool Tower, The Sea Life Centre and Madame Tussauds, (pictured) said: “The Chancellor should do the right thing and cut tourism VAT to the same level as other European nations.

“The current rate of 20 per cent makes Britain uncompetitive internationally, punishes Britain’s tourism sector, which is losing market share to rivals, and penalises Britons who want to holiday at home by making it more expensive than going abroad.

“A cut to five per cent would create 120,000 jobs, boost GDP, attract more international visitors, and give Brits a greater incentive to holiday in the UK.”

The campaigners said even though lowering the rate of tourism VAT would require no extra legislation on the part of the UK government, ministers have so far refused to engage with the idea, despite the economic benefits.

It calculated that across the whole of Britain, a VAT cut would create 120,000 jobs, boost GDP by £4bn each year, and increase the Treasury’s revenues by £4bn over 10 years using the Treasury’s own economic model. Lower VAT would further help consumers, by resulting in fairer prices, and also lift British exports.