Cut Tourism VAT
The past twelve months have seen significant progress and greatly increased political support for Cut Tourism VAT, aimed at securing a 5% rate on visitor accommodation and attractions. Notably, The Sun newspaper the people’s paper launched a front page campaign called ‘Stick Your Hols VAT’ on June 30th 2014, with a feature explaining the case to Sun readers and offering sticks of rock with a plea to the Chancellor to cut tourism VAT to 5%.
In January 2014, a roundtable brought together leading champions from industry and supporting MPs to discuss the strategy for the Campaign in the run up to the General Election. This resulted in the first ever Parliamentary debate on tourism VAT. This well-attended debate saw MPs of all parties urge the Government to implement a reduction.
BHA members, notably Merlin Entertainment and Bourne Leisure, have played a key role in these achievements, as well as promoting the cause locally and lobbying constituency MPs. Thanks to these efforts, Cut Tourism VAT currently enjoys a growing list of over 65 actively supportive MPs, MEPs and developed representatives.
Dermot King, Director, Bourne Leisure: “Nearly a million under-25s are unemployed in Britain. How do we get them back to work? It will be tourism and hospitality that will employ young people in seaside towns. If we cut prices [by reducing tourism VAT to 5%], more people will come and we will employ more people to serve them. It’s a huge opportunity being missed.”
Nick Varney, Chief Executive, Merlin Entertainments: “Reducing the cost of accommodation and attractions by 15% will make UK tourism much more competitive. More British people will be able to take an extra short break in the UK and we will also attract more foreign tourists.”
Dermot King, Director of Bourne Leisure: “In terms of exports, tourism is worth more to the economy than car manufacturing – but you wouldn’t know it. Almost every other country in Europe supports its domestic tourist industry. Places like Clacton, Great Yarmouth, Hastings and Blackpool are starved of investment. Businesses there can’t compete because they have to charge 20% tax versus their European competition.”