MP Stephen Lloyd spoke in a debate in Parliament this week in which he asked the Government to consider re-examining the 20 per cent VAT rate on hotel accommodation and visitor attractions.
The politician, who is also patron of the Eastbourne Hospitality Association, said he believes a reduction would help boost employment in Eastbourne and the town’s hotel and bed and breakfast trade.
He said, “The tourism sector is unusual in that under EU regulations, Member States are able to apply reduced VAT rates to ‘Labour Intensive Areas’ such as tourism to reduce unemployment, and this clearly applies to our own local accommodation and attractions in Eastbourne.
“Our numerous hotels, B&Bs and attractions employ thousands of people and cutting VAT to 5 per cent would boost them, our town and local employment significantly.
“I spoke of how such a change is estimated to increase employment by 80,000 new jobs and how a leading Treasury advisor has gone on the record to describe this proposal as “one of the most efficient, if not the most efficient, means of generating GDP gains at low cost to the exchequer.
“I believe there is also a strong fairness argument in that our main competitors in Europe such as France, Germany and Italy levy a VAT rate of between only 7 per cent and 10 per cent, against our own 20 per cent.
“This is not only unfair; it makes it harder for the UK to compete on a level playing field.”