Politicians from across the UK have come out in support of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign, which wants VAT on hotels and attractions to be slashed to 5%.
More than 60 MPs have expressed their support for the campaign, while 44 of them have also signed up to a Parliamentary Early Day Motion calling for a reduction.
The news came as the Sun yesterday threw its support behind the campaign with its own push called Give Us a Break. The hope among the Cut Tourism VAT campaign's organisers is that the Sun's involvement will convince more consumers of the merits of a cut, and efforts are underway to get major hotel groups to call on their customers to support a VAT reduction too.
The campaign and the MPs who support it hope that a VAT reduction will drive investment and jobs in regional towns. Cut Tourism VAT is set to launch new research next week which will further underline its economic case.
The aim is to make Britain more competitive, cut prices and create over 120,000 jobs while adding around £4bn to economic output. There would be an initial hit to the Treasury but this would be made back inside on parliamentary term.
Ministers have been forced to admit that the change can be made without prior approval from the EU after it was revealed that the majority of EU states have all cut their holiday VAT rates.
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys (Con), said: "I have been a big supporter of this campaign and have made my points very clear to successive ministers. I believe by cutting VAT we will increase levels of incoming tourism, making the United Kingdom much more attractive to visit. Incoming tourism is new money into the economy of this county and should be encouraged where possible."
Martin Caton, MP for Gower (Lab), added: "Providers of tourism-related services in my constituency of Gower look to their colleagues on the other side of the Irish Sea and see the positive impact of lower VAT rates in stimulating local businesses. I have no doubt that the reduction of VAT for the tourism industry in the UK would have significant economic and employment benefits."
Thomas Dubaere, managing director of Accor UK & Ireland, said: "While the UK is a highly desirable destination for tourists, the current rate of VAT, which is double the European average, discourages a large number of potential visitors and prevents the industry from achieving its true potential. A cut in the rate of VAT for tourists would bring significant benefits for thousands of hospitality related businesses across the entire country, create much needed jobs and be a major boost for the wider British economy."