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Lords highlight importance of supporting hospitality in ailing seaside towns

04 April 2019 by
Lords highlight importance of supporting hospitality in ailing seaside towns

The House of Lords has recommended a string of local strategies to help rejuvenate seaside towns, acknowledging a need to support the hospitality industry in coastal regions.

The House of LordsThe Future of Seaside Towns âˆ' which highlighted the issues faced by coastal communities, including much-needed improvements to transport, housing and broadband.

The chairman of the committee, Lord Bassam of Brighton, said that "for too long, seaside towns have been neglected", adding the "decline of their core industries, most notably domestic tourism" had caused particular issues.

He added: "The potential impact of Brexit on these towns, particularly the hospitality sector, also remains an open question."

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, who gave evidence to the committee in September, expressed concerns that the issues facing seaside towns were the same that were striking the heart of the industry at large.

Welcoming the report, she said: "One of the major barriers to growth in any high street, town or city centre, at the seaside or anywhere else, is tax. Businesses are facing continually increasing bills which shrink margins and undermine investment. The rate of VAT in the UK makes hospitality businesses uncompetitive and business rates continue to place unfair burdens on hospitality and seaside businesses. The introduction of a tourist tax, which has been mooted by some local authorities, would put seaside towns back even further.

"If the government is serious about supporting seaside towns, then ruling out a tourist tax, lowering the rate of VAT for hospitality and the reformation of business rates into a truly fair system will help revitalise our seaside."

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