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Brexit could lead to abolition of VAT on tourism, says minister

01 July 2016 by
Brexit could lead to abolition of VAT on tourism, says minister

Britain's decision to leave the European Union (EU) could lead the way for the abolition of VAT on tourism, according to a senior cabinet minister.

John Whittingdale, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who oversees tourism, spoke to delegates at the British Hospitality Association's (BHA) Hospitality and Tourism Summit just a few days after the Brexit decision.

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 Cut Tourism VAT campaign has been calling for the rate of VAT levied on tourism to be reduced from 20% to 5%.

Whittingdale echoed views expressed earlier in the day by Nick Varney, chairman of the BHA and chief executive of Merlin Entertainments.

He 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."

Cut Tourism VAT has support from more than 1,000 hospitality and tourism operators and 160 MPs from all political parties.

This year's summit took place at the Grange St Paul's hotel in London on 27 June and was attended by around 500 people. Other speakers included Lord Hague, Fiona Hyslop MSP and chairman of the Low Pay Commission Sir David Norgrove.

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