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The Caterer

Bed Tax – a tax on tourism

25 April 2006
Bed Tax – a tax on tourism

The idea of imposing a bed tax on hotels at a time when hospitality businesses already face spiraling costs and bureaucracy, not to mention a £17b tourism deficit, is sheer lunacy, argues independent hotelier Simon Lever.

The costs to the hospitality industry have risen enormously over the past few years. Business rates, domestic rates, gas, electricity, water, telephones and petrol/diesel have all dramatically increased.

In addition, legislation and red tape are strangling an industry already challenged by the general economic down-turn in the retail and hospitality sectors as the increase in taxation over the past eight years takes effect.

This is at a time when the UK faces a growing "tourism deficit" with £17b more spent by British tourists abroad last year than by visitors to our shores.

The idea of introducing another tax, doubtless accompanied by a further phalanx of pen-pushers, is absurd and will again increase the paperwork that companies will have to add to the already burgeoning bureaucracy that surrounds running a business.

A "bed tax" will seriously damage tourism and simply drive more people abroad.

It is time for VisitBritain and especially the British Hospitality Association to stand up and be counted.

This Government has proven on many occasions that it has no idea whatsoever about business and its ignorance is reflected in this lunatic idea.

Tourists already spend money and consequently pay VAT on purchases. They contribute to thousands of vibrant businesses who in turn pay local and national taxes along with VAT.

Sign Caterer's "Say no to bed tax" campaign petition >>

Simon Lever is both a director of theTorbay Hospitality Associationand the owner of theDaylesford hotelin Torquay.

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