A London bedroom tax

By | Category: Travel rumblings
If a man is tired of paying bed taxes, he might not visit at all

If a man is tired of paying bed taxes, he might not visit at all

One of the London mayoral candidates, Ivan Massow, has called for a bedroom tax of £1 per night per star rating for every person staying in London apart from hostels.

His logic for this?

Other cities do it and they don’t suffer lower occupancy as a result. Except that London is already more expensive than many of the cities he quotes such as Rome and Paris. He says the £400 million raised could be used in a variety of areas such as children’s hospices and more air ambulances.

A few years ago, Edinburgh tries to introduce a bed tax which the then government pointed out was an illegal use of its powers. Or the powers it had then. Presumably then, it is still cannot be instituted which is just as well.

His interview in the London morning freebie, City AM, last week is fairly typical of the politicos we tend to see these days; quite to create a soundbite that they know will make headlines but slow to understand what their glibness means.

I would happily support Massow if he could prove that £400 million wouldn’t be lost for tourism to London by introducing such a tax. The argument that who would notice paying an extra £4 a night for a four stay hotel stay is irrational when you realise that most of the people that stay are not businessmen but leisure travellers. They will not be alone but with partners and possibly children. A week’s accommodation in a four star hotel for a family of four would cost over an additional £100. And that will dispell visitors.

It’s fine to say that this idea would raise an additional chunk of cash for London but how much would it cost to administer. Is London then left with only £380 or £350 million?

Massow also didn’t say that some places, even a place like Venice which lives off tourism, charges only up to a certain number of nights because they think it would drive tourists away if it were too high. He also doesn’t say that other countries don’t have VAT as high as we do and some such as Germany, France, Ireland and Spain have reduced VAT for the hospitality sector.

Sometimes you wonder whether politicians should be taught to understand before being allowed to talk.

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