Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has this week co-sponsored a cross-party motion to cut VAT on tourism in light of the economic impact of coronavirus. The motion recognises the importance of tourism to the UK economy and the potential benefits of a cut in VAT for tourism to help the hard-hit industry recover.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Cutting VAT on tourism is something I have supported for many years and it is even more necessary in the face of our current economic crisis. Businesses in the Northern Isles have spent years building up a distinctive and successful offering for tourists. Failing to protect these gains would represent a huge missed opportunity and risk long term harm to the economy of the isles and other regions of the UK.
“The solidarity efforts we have seen in recent weeks to support local companies and producers have been inspiring but can only go so far to replace the earnings from summer trade. Some businesses I have spoken to are already considering shutting until next spring.
“Tourism is one of the hardest-hit industries and faces one of the longest paths back to normal business as restrictions are gradually lifted. Reports have suggested that 35% of jobs in areas reliant on tourism could be lost permanently as a result. If there are tax measures the government can take to improve our tourism businesses’ opportunities to regain lost ground then we must consider them.”