Shadow Foreign Secretary calls on the government to reduce Tourism VAT
A prominent frontbench Labour MP has voiced her support for a reduction in tourism-related VAT. Speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times during the Labour Party Conference, the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry emphasised the need to help struggling tourist services in the UK, and highlighted how the government had negotiated a cut in tourism VAT for Northern Ireland.
Of particular concern to Mrs Thornberry is the East Anglia area, comprising of Norfolk, Suffolk and North Essex. These areas suffer from underfunding compared to other tourist destinations in the UK, and she believes the government should be exploring ways to help the region. The UK is one of only three countries in the EU that retains a 20% VAT charge on tourism-related services, despite the EU allowance to lower the rate, and this means that the UK languishes in 135th place out of 136 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Price Competitiveness Index. This is harmful to the seaside-towns of East Anglia, such as Southwold and Aldeburgh, as the high prices could drive tourism elsewhere.
It is expected that a reduction in tourism VAT is going to be announced in Northern Ireland in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s budget announcement on the 29th October. This is predicted to help to stimulate growth and create more jobs in the long term, as the tourism industry will be allowed to develop without the higher rate of VAT. Mrs Thornberry also spoke about the impact Brexit would have on East Anglia, and her fears that tourism levels will drop even further, which is bound to impact on the East Anglia area. It is hoped that a reduction in tourism VAT could mitigate the problems that might arise from Brexit, and provide a boost to the UK’s economy at an absolute crucial juncture.
Read the full Emily Thornberry story here: http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/labour-conference-2018-emily-thornberry-tourism-warning-brexit-east-1-5707704
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