Reducing VAT for holidaymakers

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
frustrated traveller

Will the holidaymaker win? © Dan Sperrin

With all the recent talk of a tourism levy wanted by the council in Edinburgh and the more than doubling of accommodation taxes in Rome, the other side of the coin is coming into the spotlight as well.

Tourism organisations have long suggested that reducing the rate of VAT from 20% to 5% for tourism products and services would be beneficial all round – except perhaps to the myopic vision of those in the Treasury.

Now that approach is being taken a stage further by Mark Williams MP for Ceredigion which takes in the tourism areas of Cardigan Bay. Last week he launched a petition – you can click here to read it – to drum up support across all our nations for that reduction to 5%.

Last February in the House Commons, Williams was one of 25 MP’s from across all parties who voted for a Vat reduction but the government who said no and the Labour opposition front bench stayed on the fence. After all, what government likes to forego cash?

There is a body called Cut Tourism VAT which some see as an industry lobby group. Although it is full of big players in the travel industry – those who would benefit from cheaper rates – it has the support of many others as well. They have produced research suggesting that reducing VAT would generate more money from the government in increased visits both by people overseas and by us. The government would prefer jam today rather than the potential of jam and cream tomorrow.

Who is right? Germany France and Ireland all have reduced rates and some claim it has helped their tourism economies. But then we have APD – Air Passenger Duty – and the government is alone in wanting to maintain it. The only way the government might take notice is if there is a petition signed by hundreds of thousands of people. So if you believe in a VAT reduction, Mr Williams would urge you to sign up to his petition by clicking here.

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