OUR Slash the VAT campaign has been taken to Parliament.
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard used the Queen’s Speech debate to call for a slash in the rate of VAT for the tourism industry.
The Gazette’s campaign is calling for a reduction in VAT on accommodation and ticket prices to bring them in line with rates across Europe – as low as six per cent in Germany.
Mr Maynard has already backed the campaign, supported by tourism leaders, hoteliers and business leaders across the Fylde coast, but took the opportunity to raise it again with ministers across the floor of the House of Commons.
Addressing ministers during the Queen’s Speech debate, which sets out the agenda of the next Parliament, he said: ““When I speak with local businesses in my constituency, they do not beg me for legislation.
“Actually, I tell a lie.
“It would remiss of me as a Blackpool MP not to mention one measure that was missing from the Queen’s Speech.
“I am sorry that the chief secretary to the Treasury is no longer in his place, as otherwise I would congratulate him on the massive benefits he has brought to the ski lifts of Aviemore.
“Having accepted the principle that there should be a level playing field between different European nations, he lowered the VAT rate for ski lifts and did well by the people of Aviemore, but the hoteliers of Blackpool would like him to make a similar contribution by lowering the VAT rate on the provision of goods and services related to tourism.
“Many other European countries have a lower rate of VAT on such services, which means that the UK is suffering through competition.
“Having accepted that principle, I hope that the Government will now look at how it can be expanded to other sectors of the economy.”
In his 2012 Budget, Chancellor George Osborne cut the VAT rate on ski lift passes in Scotland to just five per cent – the same rate as mainland Europe.
Support for The Gazette’s Slash the VAT campaign is growing and readers can sign the e-petition, calling for the VAT rate to be lowered: