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Monday, 08 September 2014

Mark Williams MP: the value of tourism to Ceredigon

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In this blog post Mark Williams, Member of Parliament for Ceredigon, explains why he supports the Campaign to reduce Tourism VAT:

A region of outstanding natural beauty and home to Britain’s Bottle-nosed Dolphin population…

Over 2,700,000 tourists flock here every year, drawn in by this vastly different but equally inspiring landscape. Mountains, Blue Flag beaches, rivers and historic towns and villages, are all part of this constituency, which I’m proud to represent.  We are also lucky enough to host a number of fantastic Food Festivals and local farmers markets, and there is a burgeoning art and craft sector, which add to the many local attractions which bring tourists to the area.

Tourists welcomed to Ceredigion, whether for a few nights or, just a day, contributed some £298.67 million in 2011: A huge boon to the local economy in a sparsely populated county of around 78,000. Unfortunately, Ceredigion businesses were not the sole beneficiary of the tourism revenue. £31.7 million was paid to HM Treasury, a product of a VAT regime across the UK which sees VAT on accommodation and attractions remain at 20%, despite the majority of our European competitors having vastly reduced rates in these industries. While in Ireland the VAT on tourism is less than half, at 9%, in Luxembourg it’s as low as 3%!

As the MP for Ceredigion, I am acutely aware of the importance of tourism to my constituency. It is for this reason that I, as well as many of my colleagues in the House of Commons, am backing the Cut Tourism VAT campaign. A cut in this punitive tax rate, would help businesses not just in Ceredigion, but across the rest of Wales and the UK. Declare your support at www.cuttourismvat.co.uk.

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