Cut Tourism VAT

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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Tourism VAT and Tax on the agenda at Parliamentary Committee

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee heard evidence today on Rural Tourism. Witnesses included Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications, VisitBritain/VisitEngland, Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire, and Jude Leitch, Director, Northumberland Tourism.

In regard to Tourism VAT,  Margaret Ritchie MP asked the panel whether they would support a reduction. Ms Leitch said she would support it, largely on the grounds that a cut would catalyse the expansion of accommodation offerings in Northumberland.  Sir Gary Verity added that there was a good paper from the Tourism Alliance on the impact a cut in tourism VAT would have.

Ms Ritchie asked what the panel thought about applying a tourist tax. Sir Gary answered that care would be needed in applying such a tax, as the highways agency should be providing infrastructure improvements anyway and such. Patricia Yates added that the UK is already an expensive destination, so a tax implemented without visitors seeing direct benefit from it would not help the UK’s cause. Julie Leitch agreed with these points.

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