Blackpool's community would benefit from scrapping VAT say tourism leaders

Dermot King of Butlins
Dermot King of Butlins
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UK tourism giants say the Government must act on cutting the cost to help the nation’s industry.

The heatwave has seen millions of holidaymakers enjoying the UK’s beaches. But one of the country’s top holiday bosses says the government are failing the country’s coastal communities.

Butlin’s managing director Dermot King says the good weather and crowded beaches are disguising the fact that seaside communities are really struggling with high levels of unemployment, crime and substance abuse.

And his views have been backed by Merlin which operates the Tower, the Sealife Centre and Madame Tussauds which has pointed out that countries such as France and Spain have a tourism VAT rate half of the UK’s 20 per cent.

Dermot King, who is also chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign says that the government is failing to acknowledge that EU resort competitors have a huge advantage over British resorts with their low levels of VAT. This results in British holidaymakers being penalised for choosing traditional English seaside resorts like.

Mr King said: “The UK is one of only three EU countries that do not provide a reduced rate of VAT for tourist attractions and accommodation. This discrepancy explains why destinations on the continent are frequently viewed as providing greater value for money than UK destinations.

"Government figures and civil servants appear to be oblivious of the misery in many of these resorts.

“The Government is failing to fix the creaking roofs of Britain’s coastal communities whilst the sun shines.

“I would encourage MPs of all political backgrounds to spend some of their summer holidays in some of the UK’s seaside towns, so they can see some of the challenges we face.”

James Crampton, corporate affairs director at Merlin Entertainments said:“Can we really rely on just the British weather to sustain our seaside towns? We need a cut in VAT on tourist businesses to level the playing field with Europe and support our coastal communities, come rain or shine.”