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Building the case for the Cut Tourism VAT Campaign – A post by the BHA


Autumn is fast approaching and the political machine is back in full swing. Long gone are the heady days of summer.

For the British Hospitality Industry and those involved in the Cut Tourism VAT Campaign, summer 2013 will be seen as the time we started to build momentum for our cause. Together with the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, Bourne Leisure Group and Merlin Entertainments Group in addition to support from over 500 groups, associations, businesses, individual hotels, restaurants and attractions around the United Kingdom, the BHA is determined that the voice of our industry is heard and our issues taken seriously.

We’re all familiar with the facts regarding tourism VAT.

  1. The UK is the only major tourism destination in the EU without a reduced Tourism VAT rate – all others have recognised the benefits and are taking advantage already
  2. A Tourism VAT reduction actually increases tax revenue – by £2.6 billion over 10 years. Also 80,000 extra jobs will be created
  3. Lower tourism VAT will be popular with voters – especially hard-working families and the “squeezed middle” who will be better able to afford a day break or staycation

As an industry, we have the strongest case for a reduction and it is the political case we need to win in our meetings with MPs and other political representatives over the coming months. The challenge now is to make the Prime Minister, his colleagues and representatives of all parties aware of the clear evidence that cutting tourism VAT is in the national economic interest, to the benefit of British businesses and British families.

The VAT issue is an important one. Cutting tourism VAT in the UK to 5% can benefit everyone, from the average Brit holidaying at home or keeping their children entertained in the school holidays; to local hotels, B&Bs and restaurants trying to survive; to local jobseekers looking for work.

The current VAT levels are making it hard for us to compete with cheap resorts abroad. As a result Britain’s hospitality industry is suffering.

We have so much to offer and it’s madness not to allow our hotels, resorts and attractions to compete on a level playing field with our European neighbours.

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