New blood at conference leaves me optimistic again

Cllr: David Tutt on Eastbourne Pier SUS-150730-144714001
Cllr: David Tutt on Eastbourne Pier SUS-150730-144714001

David Tutt

Following what was by any measure a very bad set of Parliamentary results for my party a cloud of doom might have been expected, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Since May some 20,000 new members have signed up resulting in many first time conference attendees.

This new blood and the energy of new party leader (Tim Farron) created a real buzz and left me feeling very optimistic for the future.

My main reason for being there this year was to support a motion calling for a reduction of VAT on tourism from 20 per cent to five per cent.

Currently the UK is one of only three EU countries to charge the 20 per cent rate leaving tourism here at a big disadvantage.

The proposed change would bring us in line 
with much of the rest of Europe.

In Eastbourne tourism is our biggest employer and this sort of change would result in a major boost to our local economy.

A valid question might be “how could this be afforded in a period of austerity” as it might be thought that this would lead to reduced income to the exchequer.

In fact studies from countries which have brought about the change show the opposite is true and that after three years the Chancellor would be in profit.

This is because more tourists would come to the UK; more people would be employed, paying taxes instead of claiming benefits and the Corporation Tax payments would go up.

This is a compelling case and I am delighted that this became Liberal Democrat policy this week, now to press Government to make the change.