Call for VAT cut from Sidmouth hospitality group

PUBLISHED: 15:10 18 November 2011

James Sharp president of Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association

James Sharp president of Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association

Sidmouth hospitality president seeks VAT cut support from local MP

SIDMOUTH hoteliers are backing a move to reduce VAT on accommodation charges.

There has been a call for Government to reduce the rate of VAT from 20 percent to five percent for the hospitality sector.

Some 21 countries in the EU have a lower VAT rate for the hotel sector and 13 for all areas of hospitality.

Now, Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association president, James Sharp, has contacted East Devon MP, Hugo Swire, to ask for his support over a VAT reduction.

He has also directed members to an e-petition at

James, who is also on the executive of Heart of Devon tourism partnership, said the UK had the second highest VAT tax in Europe, with Denmark the highest.

“I have asked members to join the petition individually and send letters to Hugo, and Exeter hoteliers are joining in,” he said.

Last August, Prime Minister, David Cameron, proclaimed the tourism and leisure industry was “essential” to rebuilding the economy.

James said: “It was only last October that the newly appointed pubs minister, Bob Neill, said he was ‘determined to protect the valuable role pubs play and help them to thrive’.

“Despite that, the Government still put VAT up by a full 2.5 percentage points in January.”

After tax was reduced in France from 19.5 percent to five percent some 21,700 jobs were created in the first year.

In his letter to the MP, James sets out 10 reasons in favour of a reduction and writes: “The UK currently has a price disadvantage of at least 10 percent against all of its strongest competitors.

“This is constraining demand from overseas visitors and encouraging UK residents to holiday abroad. Both of these disadvantage the UK hospitality economy.”

James, who has not yet had a response from Hugo Swire, said he would be meeting with him today (Friday) “and I will be raising this again with him.”

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