Call for Tourism industry to be boosted by curbing VAT

Whisky attracts tourists to Moray - now MSP is demanding a VAT cut for the industry.
Whisky attracts tourists to Moray – now MSP is demanding a VAT cut for the industry.

MORAY’S TOURISM ECONOMY would receive a boost from a review in the rate of VAT according to Moray’s MP Angus Robertson.

Tourism is a major factor in employment in the region, the MP has said, pointing to the fact that all bar two EU nations have already reduced VAT rates on Tourism.

That, he claims, encourages investment in the industry – but adds that the UK is one of the most expensive countries to visit, with action required now to help keep ensure the country remains competitive which is vital for key tourism destinations such as Moray and Speyside.

Mr Robertson has already written to the Chancellor on the issue, pointing out that tourism accounts for 7% of all employment in Scotland.

He said: “Tourism is vital in areas like Moray, as is plainly obvious from the benefit we gain from whisky tourism.

“In recent years there has been notable investment in tourism in Moray but the UK Government has a role to play, which is why I am urging the Treasury to revisit the issue of VAT as it relates to tourism.

“High rates of VAT are a serious challenge to the industry and we know that in countries where it has been reduced, there is clear evidence that tourism and the wider hospitality business thrives. Tourism in the UK is consistently held back by our uncompetitive tax environment.

“We need to change that balance and help attract more visitors to Moray, who in turn will be spending more money and generating more investment and jobs in our local economy. That situation is replicated in many areas right across Scotland and the UK.

”What the letter and SNP calls hope to achieve is that the UK Government will work with the tourism industry on how best to address our lack of competitiveness – and look at the evidence about how reducing VAT acts as a spur.”