Hoteliers and hospitality business owners and managers – you’ve got a major role to play in helping the British Hospitality Association (BHA) to bring its vitally important ‘Cut Tourism VAT’ campaign to a successful conclusion.
This was the message that came across loud and clear from BHA Chief Executive Ufi Ibrahim, when she was interviewed recently by HOSPA Chief Executive Carl Weldon at this year’s HOSPACE Conference and Exhibition for Hospitality Finance, Revenue Management and IT Professionals. She told a record number of 470 delegates that a very senior industry leader had told her, in light of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, that he could not envisage that a cut to Tourism VAT was going to take place, certainly within the next two years, and the BHA should move on. “I disagree,” she replied with conviction, explaining that to pass the motion to cut tourism VAT, the BHA needed a target number of 326 MPs, and the campaign was already well on track to achieving this goal – with 137 MPs, across all parties, currently actively championing the cause.
Yes, she said, it would probably take another couple of years to get the necessary support of 326 MPs, but the key to achieving this target was for everyone in the hospitality industry to lobby their MPs at constituency level and educate them about the importance and the very positive outcomes of cutting tourism VAT. So it is up to all of us to answer the BHA’s rallying call to the industry and convince our local MPs to support this vitally important campaign!
Why should we do this? According to the BHA, a cut in Tourism VAT will make the UK more competitive for attracting domestic and international tourism with the rest of the EU; it will boost GDP by £4bn a year; it will increase 120,000 jobs; and deliver £3.9bn to the treasury. Whilst the UK VAT rate is 20%, the average EU tourism VAT rate is 10.6%; whilst countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Eire have VAT rates under 10%. Indeed, Ufi cited the example of what a cut in VAT has done for Eire in comparison to its UK counterpart Northern Ireland. In Eire, where the VAT rate is 9%, business has grown by 21%; whereas in Norther Ireland, with a 20% VAT rate, business has declined by 18%. “If we are uncompetitive, then we will underperform,” said Ufi.
So local and national hoteliers and hospitality managers, this is your chance to help your industry and the BHA. Target and educate your MP – then we will have a chance of achieving the support of the necessary 326 MPs to help make the vitally important tourism VAT cut a reality! To help you do this, please visit the ‘Cut Tourism VAT’ campaign website: http://www.cuttourismvat.co.uk/# . The BHA will equip you with everything from briefing documents and letters, to guidelines for lobbying your MP.
As a guide to help you, the BHA has drawn up the following list of benefits arising from the proposed cut in tourism VAT:
How would a VAT cut create growth across the UK? Unlike many industries, tourism benefits communities and economies around the UK and is, in many areas, a primary source of employment. In 2003 to 2014, domestic visitor numbers fell by 9% which puts us back to 2008 figures. A reduction in tourism VAT would:
So hoteliers and hospitality business owners and managers, there’s no time to lose – contact your MP now!
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