Email the editor

Minister says Brexit could lead to abolition of tourism VAT

John Whittingdale makes forecast during a British Hospitality Association summit in London

Pictured: culture secretary John Whittingdale

The culture secretary has said that the UK leaving the EU could lead to a cut in the rate of VAT levied on tourism.

John Whittingdale, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, was speaking at a British Hospitality Association (BHA) summit in London when he made the prediction. 

He said: “If we wanted, for example, to abolish VAT on accommodation or attractions, we could now do so. We couldn’t have done when we were in the European Union.”

The remarks by the minister, who oversees tourism and hospitality in the UK, were welcomed by representatives of businesses from across the UK industry.

Nick Varney, BHA chairman and chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, said: “Tourism and leisure can continue to grow under Brexit. Initially a weaker pound will encourage visitors and also exports will flourish. We should seize the moment and lock in that competitive advantage with a permanent cut to VAT for accommodation and attractions, and possibly in the future also for restaurants.”

He said that once uncertainty had died down British tourists would feel encouraged to spend more in this country and visitors from Europe would be more likely to visit the UK.

Varney is a leader of the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT, which calls on the government to reduce the rate of tourism VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent. 

The announcement is a boost to the campaign, which has already secured the support of 160 MPs across all parties and the support of the three devolved administrations across the UK. 

Facebook Share Twitter Share LinkeIn Share