I don’t think anyone in Westminster knows a thing about Tourism, at all. And I know no one on South Lakeland District Council knows a damn thing either!
Putting local attacks on the industry aside, there has long been calls for targetted VAT cuts to Tourism so that the sector can better compete with European competitors, such as France, who benefit from VAT as low as 5.5%, a massive difference to our 20%. Most outspoken locally has been Jonathan Denby of Lakes Hospitality Association along with calls from Cumbria Tourism and nationally a campaign has been spearheaded by British Hospitality Association. Unfortunately calls to our local MP Tim Farron have fallen on deaf ears.
Not only has targeted VAT cuts been called for but the European Union has legislation to allow member countries to give such discounts, we are one of only three countries in Europe that doesn’t bother to do so.
I’m a firm believer that lower taxes boost output and Tourism is well placed to expand quickly and employ more people. Just look at how many small hotels and B&B’s are up for sale in Ambleside to see how we’re struggling.
Ive decided to ask South Lakeland District Council to look at this and not only recognise we need to look at boosting Tourism, but understand that supporting small firms and start ups is how we are going to create a sustainable rural economy in South Lakes.
“That this Council acknowledges that boosting small businesses and encouraging start-ups is the best option for leading our economy into a period of sustainable growth.
As such, this Council joins Rory Stewart MP, Jamie Reed MP, Tim Farron MP and John Woodcock MP in formally supporting the Federation of Small Business’ campaing ‘Real-Life Entrepreneurs’.
Specifically noting that; we call on Government to simplify the tax system and look at the feasibility of introducing targeted VAT cuts in key sectors such as tourism to kick start the economy and stimulate growth.”
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