BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable revealed there is huge pressure on the Government to cut VAT for the tourism industry.
And while no cut has yet been made, he refused to rule one out in the future.
Dr Cable spoke to The Gazette following an appearance at the Federation of Small Businesses’ annual national conference in Scarborough.
He said: “Part of the problem is there is a lot of pressure to cut VAT for particular sectors.
“Given the state of the problems financially the Government is not in a position to make massive, very expensive tax cuts.
“I’m not saying it will never happen but the Chancellor didn’t mention it in his Budget, it’s not something coming in immediately.
“The Government realises seaside towns like Blackpool, have very particular problems, and one of the roles of the Regional Growth Fund is to try to help those towns.”
The Gazette launched its Slash the VAT campaign following calls from hoteliers and attraction bosses to put them on an even keel with the tourism trade in Europe, where rates are as low as five per cent – in stark contrast to 20 per cent in the UK.
Pressed on the issue by The Gazette – naming various reports which suggested a drop in VAT would generate more income for Government coffers through job creation and improved visitor numbers – Dr Cable said they would have to look, “very hard,” at the studies before making any decisions.
The minister was given a hard time by delegates, including those from Blackpool. at the conference over the price of fuel and whether the Government was taking price rises seriously.
He said despite calls for a drop in fuel duty and VAT on various sectors, the Government had instead chosen to concentrate on helping families from middle England.