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Brighton and Hove tourism chiefs back campaign to slash VAT on tourism
Businesses in Brighton and Hove say hundreds of jobs could be created in the city if the government cut tourism VAT from 20% to 5%.
While holidaymakers on the continent pay as little as 7% VAT for holiday accommodation, a British family would have to pay 20% VAT for a break in Sussex.
Campaigners say Brighton and Hove employs 13,500 people in the hospitality industry and the level of VAT means it's harder for the almost 150 hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area to compete with other destinations in Europe.
The hospitality and tourism industry in the city accounts for 12% of the workforce.
Max Leviston, general manager, at the Sea Life Centre in Marine Parade, said: “Brighton already has a great reputation with both domestic and foreign tourism, and its reputation for world class language schools around Europe and the world encourages tens of 1000's of additional tourists every single year.
“Partly because there is no concession on tourism VAT, businesses have to over compensate when controlling the operating costs in these testing financial times.
"This will result in a spiral of increased pricing strategies, reduced employment, reduced service levels, reduced satisfaction and poor value for money.
"All of the evidence shows that ultimately this will undoubtedly lead to reduced domestic and foreign tourism in this country.”
Soozie Campbell, chair of the Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance, whose members the Hilton Brighton Metropole in Kings Road and Churchill Square Shopping Centre, said: "Reducing VAT on tourism would be a win-win all round.
"Even the government stands to benefit. The Treasury's own research shows it would boost GDP by £4 billion per annum and create 80,000 jobs within three years.
“It will be a huge boost for Brighton and other tourist centres."
Graham Watson, chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign, said: “Reducing tourism VAT would mean a better deal for UK holiday makers and our tourism industry. Our high rate of tourism VAT compared to elsewhere in the EU makes is harder to compete as a destination - hindering investment and the creation of jobs in Brighton and the UK nationally.
"We want a proper Government debate this side of the general election. The Treasury must seriously review these options. We want political parties to include the policy this into their manifestos."
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