New group of MPs to fight for tourism VAT cut
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New group of MPs to fight for tourism VAT cut

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The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has announced the establishment of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to focus on improving the visitor economy by advocating measures including a reduction of VAT on tourism.

The group, which features a number of high-profile MPs, will aim to enhance local economies through promoting measures and incentives that will increase visitor numbers and investment in all parts of Britain and Northern Ireland, with a VAT cut top of the agenda

Tourism bosses have long been campaigning for a reduction in VAT on accommodation and attractions, to place the UK in line with the rest of Europe and encourage additional spending. The Nevin report, commissioned by the Cut Tourism VAT Campaign, found that a VAT reduction from 20 per cent to five per cent for tourism businesses would provide a £4bn (US$6.7bn, €5bn) boost to the UK economy, create 120,000 jobs and put the UK back on a level footing with European tourism rivals.

The APPG on the Visitor Economy features MPs from a cross-section of political parties, including Plaid Cymru and the Green Party – the only two to include a pledge to cut tourism VAT on their manifestos for the 2015 General Election.

The BHA has been appointed as Secretariat to the APPG and will work with MPs to devise the group’s programme during the summer. The BHA will be working closely with the APPG to host a Hospitality and Tourism Lobby Day on 16 September 2015 where BHA members and other business leaders will visit Parliament to make their voices heard on key issues affecting the industry.

“It is imperative that politicians mobilise to sustain pressure on both Parliament and Whitehall to deliver further economic success for the UK through the powerful potential of hospitality and tourism,” said BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim.

“There is a terrific opportunity to hold the Prime Minister to account on his recently announced plan to support our industry with a vision that creates more growth, jobs and security for working people. The private sector is ready to rise to this challenge and looks forward to working with politicians to make it a reality.”

The APPG on the Visitor Economy members:

Co-chairs

Margaret Ritchie MP (SDLP)Nigel Huddleston MP (Conservative)

Vice-chairs

Albert Owen MP (Labour)Dr Philippa Whitford MP (SNP)

Mark Williams MP (Liberal Democrat)Caroline Lucas MP (Green)

Sammy Wilson MP (DUP)Danny Kinahan MP (UUP)

Hywel Williams MP (Plaid Cymru)

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