Hospitality Ulster Respond To UK Treasury Letter To The NI Affairs Committee

Hospitality Ulster Respond To UK Treasury Letter To The NI Affairs Committee

05 January 2018

Responding to the publication of the UK Treasury letter to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster, which indicated that the Treasury will be announcing a call for evidence on the impact of reducing Hospitality / Tourism VAT and abolishing Air Passenger Duty early in 2018, Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster, said: 

"I am encouraged by the UK Treasury’s intention to begin the research with a call for evidence early this year.

This is another positive step forward, coming so soon after the Chancellor’s budget commitment to undertake research into reducing hospitality & tourism VAT and abolishing Air Passenger in Northern Ireland.

Hospitality Ulster has led the campaign for a reduction in the hospitality and tourism Vat rate in Northern Ireland, which at 20% puts us at a distinct competitive disadvantage, particularly as our nearest market the Republic of Ireland, has a 9% tourism vat rate.

The 20% VAT rate acts as a brake on the growth of the hospitality and tourism sector, which supports more than 60,000 jobs across Northern Ireland.

Independent research earlier this year showed that more than 2,000 jobs would be created in our hospitality sector if the VAT rate on accommodation and visitor attractions was cut to 5%.

With additional research showing a further 4,000 jobs could be created if VAT was cut on food.

It is imperative that the rate is cut in Northern Ireland so we can continue to grow a vital part of the regional economy.’’

We have also been calling for the abolition of Air Passenger Duty for a number of years and we welcome it will also be included in the research.

It is clear that APD is a competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland’s tourism offering and therefore our wider economy.

The Republic of Ireland, our nearest competitor, abolished their airport tax a number of years ago and Hospitality Ulster would urge this review to do likewise.

Hospitality Ulster has worked closely with both the Northern Ireland Assembly and our MPs in Westminster to bring about a reduced Tourism VAT rate and abolish Air Passenger Duty."