Hotelier hits out at hospitality VAT rate

Sheikh Abid Gulzar
Sheikh Abid Gulzar

AN EASTBOURNE hotelier has strongly supported a call by the British Hospitality Association for a cut in VAT on hotel accommodation.

Mr Abid Gulzar, chairman and managing director of Lion Hotels, believes the 20 per cent rate on hotel stays is particularly punishing for older holidaymakers.

Mr Gulzar’s company owns the Chatsworth, Mansion, Albany and Claremont hotels which welcome thousands of holidaymakers yearly.

“Up to 90 per cent of our guests are senior citizens, and I believe it is wrong that, having worked hard all their lives, they are taxed when they go on holiday.”

The chief executive of the British Hospitality Association met Exchequer Secretary David Gauke and Tourism Minister John Penrose recently to present the case for reducing VAT on tourism services from 20 to five per cent.

The tax on hotel accommodation is now the second highest in Europe, with half of member states also offering a reduced rate on attractions.

It was agreed that Treasury and industry experts would have detailed discussions about the issues involved, including the likely impact of any reduction on inbound tourism.

Mr Gulzar said this week, “Eastbourne is a most beautiful place to rest and relax. Older people love the promenade and the town’s other amenities. Many come back again and again because they find a holiday here therapeutic.

“Our rates are extremely reasonable, but if we were able to reduce the 20 per cent VAT, it would make the cost of a holiday even more manageable and enable people to come more frequently or stay longer and give our deserving parents an enjoyable break.

“These are people who have worked hard and helped make the country great and to whom we should be grateful.

“We should not be taking tax off them when they take a holiday.”

Mr Gulzar will urge local MP Stephen Lloyd to support the BHA’s case.