Autumn Budget 2017 – A review into Tourism VAT in Northern Ireland
In a major victory for the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT, the Chancellor announced that the Treasury is going forward with plans to review Tourism VAT in Northern Ireland, as previously announced as part of the confidence and supply agreement between the government and DUP following the general election. This was the first ever budget mention of a reduction in tourism VAT and followed extensive campaigning from the Cut Tourism VAT campaign and the British Hospitality Association, both of whom look forward to working with the Treasury as their report is produced. The announcement represents a trend of increasing Parliamentary support for a Cut to Tourism VAT, which has been recommended by three Select Committees and advocated by more than 130 MPs from different parties and an APPG.
However, across the UK, the rate of Tourism VAT is one of the highest in Europe and the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT has long argued that what the UK Visitor economy urgently needs to become more competitive relative to its European counterparts. That means reducing the damagingly high rate of VAT on tourism, allowing the industry to compete on its merits with France, Germany, Ireland and Spain. Independent research has shown that a reduction in the rate of tourism VAT to 5% would stimulate investment and spending in the hospitality industry across the country, contributing £4.6 billion to the Exchequer, and leading to a reduction in the UK’s balance of trade deficit by £23 billion over 10 years.
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