HU HOSTS DISCUSSIONS WITH TREASURY FINANCIAL SECRETARY MEL STRIDE MP
10 May 2018
Hospitality Ulster CEO, Colin Neill, comments after hosting The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the Rt. Hon Mel Stride MP at round table meetings with hospitality and tourism representatives on the back of HM Treasury’s call for evidence on VAT, APD and Tourism in Northern Ireland
''Hospitality Ulster welcomed the opportunity for the industry to have face-to-face discussions about the importance of cutting Tourism VAT in Northern Ireland and for abolishing Air Passenger Duty with the Financial Secretary.
”The meetings, which included the NI Hotel Federation, FSB, Visit Belfast, Visit Derry, The National Trust, TNI, Derry Chamber of commerce, all three NI airports and a selection of hospitality businesses, provided an excellent opportunity for the hospitality and tourism industry to spell out the importance of cutting Tourism VAT in Northern Ireland and abolishing Air Passenger Duty.”
''These are crucial issues not only for our members in the hospitality sector across NI, and indeed for other industry bodies, but for the Northern Ireland economy as a whole.
''Mel Stride MP, as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, listened to our message that the tourism VAT rate in Northern Ireland needs to be reduced significantly in order to put us on a level playing field, not only with our biggest competitor, the Republic of Ireland, but indeed with virtually all of the rest of Europe.
''Our current 20% VAT tourism rate is more than double the Republic’s 9% rate and clearly puts us at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to attracting tourists to Northern Ireland.
''We also emphasised that Air Passenger Duty is a clear competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland’s tourism sector as it deters visitors. Abolishing APD would allow us as a region to compete for more flight routes into Northern Ireland and therefore attract more visitors.
''We also discussed the VAT registration threshold and how reforms can be made to the current legislation which will benefit the hospitality sector and indeed small businesses from a range of sectors in Northern Ireland.
''This is part of our ongoing engagement with HM Treasury and Hospitality Ulster will continue to argue strongly that reform of Tourism VAT and APD are necessary for our sector and indeed for Northern Ireland as a whole.’’