Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to call for a review into VAT that tourism-related businesses are liable for. These include pubs, restaurants, cafes, and other accommodation and sightseeing services.
The Cut Tourism VAT campaign estimates that a reduction in VAT for the hospitality and tourism sector would see an increase of £4.6 billion to the Treasury over the next decade and would see the creation of 121,000 jobs in the industry.
Last year, in a consultation conducted by then-MP for Stirling Steven Paterson, 87% of business owners in the hospitality industry in Stirling agreed that a reduction in VAT would help growth and jobs creation locally.
The SNP Scottish Government has protected the hospitality sector from any rise in the Business Rates that premises are liable for by capping the increase to 12.5% as part of the Business Rates review. A proposed reduction in Air Departure Tax is also estimated to help boost the tourism sector in Scotland.
In his letter to the Chancellor, Mr Crawford is calling on the UK Government to do what it can to properly support the needs of businesses in Stirling.
Commenting, he said:
“The tourism and hospitality sector can often face seasonal periods of volatility, yet is such a major source of employment throughout the Stirling area. Whilst the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to support these businesses, it is crucial that the UK Government implements changes to tax on business where it is needed.
“The UK currently has one of the highest rates of VAT in Europe and in order to remain competitive and continue to encourage tourism trade, we must address this issue.
“The Stirling area benefits from an unrivalled history and landscape that attracts tourists from across the world. With the City Region Deal currently being negotiated by the Scottish and UK Governments with Stirling Council, we will see more investment into our local area and business growth as a result. However, we have to make this growth sustainable with competitive taxation.
“The current rate of VAT is strangling small hospitality businesses and preventing growth and the creation of jobs. Business owners are crying out for a reduction and the Chancellor must listen to their concerns.”