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BHA is making headway on VAT cut for hospitality firms

Published:  27 June, 2011

The British Hospitality Association says it is making headway on a VAT cut for hospitality businesses.

Speaking at last week's annual luncheon, chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said the trade body is "delivering results" on cutting red tape for hospitality firms and is working at the highest level with the health secretary on the Responsibility Deal.

The BHA argues the UK's 20% VAT rate makes tourism "uncompetitive" compared to other European countries. France pays just 5.5% on hotel accommodation; in Italy, 10%; in Spain, 8% and in Germany 7%. Ireland is reducing VAT for the sector from 13% to 9% on 1 July.

"Our work with the Secretary of State for Health, and the Responsibility Deal includes Board level representation for the industry as well as on the high level steering group, where we are represented by BHA Council Member, Phil Hooper of Sodexo.

"The Regulation Task Force, to look at red tape which is holding back the industry, will be chaired by the BHA's incoming president, Alan Parker," said Ibrahim.

"The 2012 Summit for the hospitality industry, to be held in next July, which we are working on with government, will be a joint public and private sector partnership event," she added.

"And on VAT, I'd like to thank John Penrose, minister for tourism, for working with the BHA on this issue and for championing the industry's aim for competitiveness in the international and EU market."

"We will continue to press for this, to make UK tourism competitive with the rest of Europe.

"After all - our industry is about jobs. While other sectors are actively automating production and service delivery, the hospitality industry is investing in the training and development of jobs across Britain.

"We are absolutely committed to ensuring that government provides the framework we need to continue to grow employment across the UK so that hospitality can create 236,000 new jobs by 2015."

John Penrose MP, tourism minister, said the government was committed to tourism as a key economic driver and urged members to support the BHA in its red tape challenge.