Eastbourne’s tourism industry mentioned in Parliament

Caroline Ansell is pictured with Eastbourne Hospitality Association officials at Westminster this week SUS-160914-130205001

Caroline Ansell is pictured with Eastbourne Hospitality Association officials at Westminster this week SUS-160914-130205001

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Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell raised the issue of a tourism industry VAT reduction which hoteliers say would help the industry during a Parliamentary debate.

Mrs Ansell asked whether the rate could come into line with other European countries, that often charge 5 per cent, when she spoke during business questions.

She made the comment after hosting Eastbourne Hospitality Association at Westminster.

The organisation is lobbying for the reduction from around 20 per cent to 5 per cent on attractions and accommodation to boost tourism in the town and across the country.

“My home constituency of Eastbourne and Willingdon is a long-established, beautiful seaside destination with big future ambitions, including for a new hot air balloon festival in 2017,” she told MPs.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of my town, and I am delighted to be welcoming the Eastbourne Hospitality Association to Parliament today.

“Will the Secretary of State tell me whether he has had discussions with the tourism industry about reducing the level of VAT on tourism services to bring us into line with competitor destinations in the EU, and to give our industry a competitive platform from which it can stimulate investment, create jobs, deliver growth and take full advantage of the opportunities in life after Brexit?”

The minister Greg Clark called Mrs Ansell a “big campaigner for the tourism industry”.

“We have the highest VAT threshold in the European Union, so many small businesses do not need to charge VAT but I will continue discussions with her,” he said.

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Ansell said, “The message from the EHA was clear: it needs a lower VAT rate to compete and to stimulate tourism and jobs and I will continue to apply pressure at ministerial level to achieve it.”