There are now more than thirty MPs, from across the political spectrum who now support the Cut Tourism VAT campaign. BHA members have played a central role in securing this support, meeting with local MPs to convince them of the case to reduce rate of Tourism VAT.
In many cases MPs were completely unaware that the UK is one of only four (out of 28) EU countries with no reduced rate for visitor accommodation.
Next year the goal is to further increase this support amongst MPs and make it a real local issue in forthcoming elections.
One of the highlights for the Campaign this year was securing the support of Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale as well as President of the Liberal Democrats.
Chris Varley, a BHA member in the Lake District, and his father Tony took a central role in requesting a meeting with Mr Farron in June to brief him on these issues and on how Tourism VAT makes it extremely difficult to compete with rival destinations in Europe.
Chris Varley said: “I think having the chance to meet with our local MP and speak to him about our business face-to-face made all the difference. Mr Farron knows how important tourism is to his constituency and once we showed him the facts on Tourism VAT he could see the logic of our arguments.”
Following the meeting Mr Farron wrote to them to thank them for an “enormously helpful” meeting.
Jonathan Newby, President of the Lakes Hospitality Association had also met with Mr Farron to press the argument. He said: “I first lobbied Tim Farron many months ago, and it was only after persistent lobbying that we were able to persuade him there is a big economic ‘win’ in reducing the VAT on tourism. I would encourage other BHA members to keep writing to their local representatives and asking for an opportunity to meet with them.”
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said: “This is a fine example of BHA members working collectively. We have, as an industry, worked hard in 2013 to raise awareness of our hard work and contribution to the economy amongst government and MPs and slowly but surely our efforts are being recognised by the decision makers.”