Cut Tourism VAT – 2015 Summary
It’s been an exciting year for the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT, and a busy year in Parliament. Following the General Election a renewed engagement programme saw the Campaign secure the support of more than 135 MPs as well as a growing number of London Assembly Members, MEPs, councillors and Members of devolved assemblies.
The Campaign completed a busy programme of meetings and engagement events over the Party Conference Season. After a lively debate including a last minute amendment to propose the introduction of ‘bed taxes’, the Liberal Democrats voted in favour of a reduction in Tourism VAT thereby making it Party policy. Engagement at the Labour and Conservative Conferences’ included both new and existing supporter MPs and councillors from the LGA Culture, Tourism and Sport board.
September saw the inaugural Tourism and Hospitality Industry day, during which industry leaders and BHA members from across the country descended on Westminster to meet with their constituency MPs and talk about the issues that are affecting their businesses. More than 70 MPs were involved in the event, and the day culminated in a Parliamentary reception to launch the latest data on the economic contribution of the industry.
Working with key Parliamentary supporters, the Campaign established a new All-Party Group for the Visitor Economy. Margaret Ritchie MP and Nigel Huddleston MP lead the Group as Co-Chairs, with the BHA acting as the Secretariat. The Group consists of more than 20 MPs from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and began its work with an inquiry on skills and apprenticeships within the industry.
The Campaign has submitted evidence to both the Northern Ireland and Scotland Affairs Select Committees. Graham Wason and Professor Adam Blake provided oral evidence on ‘promoting the tourism industry through the tax system’ to the Northern Irish Affairs Select Committee in November.
2016 will be a busy year for the Campaign as it seeks to put the issue at the heart of the local and devolved elections. The Campaign will be meeting candidates from all parties to discuss about the local benefits of a reduction.
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