I agree with Grant Hearn, chief executive of Travelodge, about the dangers of a "bed tax" to the health of our industry (Caterer, 23 March, page 22). We are small in comparison with Travelodge, but my 17 country house hotels would be severely damaged if this measure was implemented.
Following the disaster of foot-and-mouth, huge hikes in labour and fuel costs and 17.5% VAT on hospitality, the impact of another tax upon our already slim margins would be enormous. VAT rates in Europe are far lower on average than in the UK, and the British Hospitality Association has tried in the past to get the Government to listen to the need for help in this area if the industry is going to remain competitive. Another tax would simply persuade yet more people to go abroad, deter tourists from visiting this country and cost jobs.
The Government must wake up to the benefits of tourism's income, instead of constantly increasing taxes, regulation and bureaucracy.
Chief executive, HF Country House Hotels
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