The Tourism VAT Challenge for family businesses – Lorenzo Stella
Lorenzo Stella, proprietor of La Gaffe Restaurant and Guest Accommodation in Hampstead, London, writes about how the high VAT rate poses significant challenges for small businesses and has hurt the area’s once vibrant local economy:
We have been established since 1962; the business was started by my parents and I have now taken over. My parents faced many challenges over the years and managed to survive. Now it is my turn to address the issues that are hindering our ability to manage.
If you would like to see how the current climate has affected small business please visit Hampstead, a beautiful and affluent part of London which once had a thriving local economy. Independent businesses have been decimated by massive rents and unreasonable rates. We receive no help from the government towards these issues. So to further penalise local independent business with a 20% VAT charge is crippling. And the once thriving area is now full of chain stores, charity shops and empty store fronts.
A reduction in the VAT rate to 5% would help hugely. Instead of what little profit we make going to pay VAT, I would be able to put money back into the business and keep up with the competition. The sector we are in is a great provider of employment and instead of having to cut staff or staff hours, I can be worry free knowing I can pay my hard working staff what they deserve.
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