Reduce Tourism VAT to support Welsh Tourism says Liz Saville Roberts MP
Liz Saville Roberts, MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, is a continued supporter of the campaign. At a recent Westminster Hall debate, Roberts spoke on the value of leisure attractions such as horse riding to the Welsh tourism industry, advocating for a VAT reduction to uphold the vulnerable leisure economy.
Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Plaid Cymru)
Wales is ideally placed as a location to promote horse riding. Our native breeds of Welsh cobs and ponies are in great demand as show and riding horses across the world. We have excellent off-road opportunities, and surely we can safely accommodate Lycra-clad mountain bikers and more sedately dressed horse riders in the forests and mountains of Wales, alongside, of course, hillwalkers and mountaineers.
None the less, the competitive potential of Wales is undermined by the requirement to levy 20% VAT on attractions and hospitality. Reducing VAT to 5%, which is a long-standing Plaid Cymru policy, would give us a more level playing field compared with France, Ireland and beyond. Attractions and hospitality directly contribute 20% to the local economy in Dwyfor Meirionnydd and employ 4,400 people. My constituency would get an economic boost of more than £6 million from such a change, and the value to Wales as a whole has been estimated by campaigners at £167 million. That would be of benefit to young people, who are particularly likely to be employed in the sector, and it might prove an incentive to employers to pay above the minimum allowed by law.
Finally, I ask the Minister to consider how best to encourage overseas visitors, and perhaps home visitors too, to venture beyond the capital cities of England and Scotland. Search engines need to be able to direct potential visitors to outdoor recreation activities, events and attractions in locations across the United Kingdom, and thus encourage people to explore and spread economic value to areas where its impact is proportionately far more significant. The adventure, excitement and scenery of Blaenau Ffestiniog need to be accessible to people who do not—yet—know how to spell the name of the town.
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