Opinion Former Article

Tourism on the election agenda

The National Caravan Council (NCC) has welcomed the recognition of tourism in a number of party election manifestos and has urged the next Government to support and grow this vital industry.

The tourism sector provides jobs for over 3 million people, making it the UK’s third largest employer and contributing £127bn to the UK economy.

Throughout the last Parliament the NCC called on the Government to implement a range of pro-tourism measures, including a reduced rate of VAT on tourism. The current rate of 20% is nearly double that of the EU average and undermines the UK’s ability to compete against other countries. At a briefing event earlier this year, and through its membership of the Tourism Alliance, the NCC has lobbied MPs to make the change which would bring long-term economic benefits to the UK economy.

The Conservative manifesto commits to continuing to support tourism in our country and stepping up efforts to recruit more apprentices into the business whilst Labour makes mention of the country’s ‘thriving tourism industry’.

The Green Party manifesto commits the party to reducing VAT on tourism to 5% ‘putting the UK on a level playing field with the rest of our international competitors’. UKIP have said they will create a dedicated Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism and the Liberal Democrats commit the party to strengthening the Hospitality and Tourism Council, with the Business and Culture Secretaries as co-chairs.

The Welsh National Party (Plaid Cymru) has made a commitment to reducing tourism VAT ‘to make holidays at home more affordable and attract foreign tourists, creating up to 7,000 jobs’. Similarly, the Scottish National Party will examine a reduction of VAT – helping to create as many as 10,000 new jobs. 

In Northern Ireland the DUP have said that the hospitality sector should be re-categorised and benefit from a reduced rate of VAT - Alliance and the SDLP have also called for a lower rate of tourism VAT.

NCC Deputy Director General, Alicia Dunne said:

“The NCC is delighted that political parties are formally recognising the importance of the tourism sector to the wider UK economy. For too long politicians have over-looked the vital contribution of this sector which is now the country’s third biggest employer.

“In order to stimulate tourism the Government should reduce tourism VAT to 5% - thereby boosting the economy by £4bn per year, creating an additional 123,000 jobs and delivering an extra £3.9bn to the Treasury. The work of the Tourism Council should be continued and built upon to ensure that tourism is represented across Government departments at a senior Ministerial level.

“The caravan industry alone is worth £6 billion to the UK economy and employs around 130,000 people and we want the next Government to focus on developing and implementing a range of policies which will help the industry grow further. This includes support for manufacturing, investment in skills and apprenticeships, licensing modernisation and more favourable planning policy.”

For more information please contact Jamie Hurst, NCC Policy and Government Relations Adviser 01252 796057 or Jamie.h@thencc.org.uk

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