Celebrity Chef Raymond Blanc backs campaign to reduce rate of VAT on accommodation and attractions

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    Celebrity chef and hotelier Raymond Blanc has backed the campaign to reduce the rate of VAT on accommodation and attractions in the UK.The Cut Tourism VAT wants the UK Government to slash VAT on accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5%. New independent research has shown that a cut to the rate of VAT on hotels will not only boost GDP by £4 billion per year, but also create 123,000 jobs around the country and provide £4 billion to the Treasury over 10 years.

    The Michelin-starred Chef joins a growing chorus of voices from across the business and political worlds urging the government to cut the rate of VAT for the tourism sector.

    The Cut Tourism VAT campaign currently has the support of a cross-party group of over 60 MPs, and over 50 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for a cut to the rate of VAT.

    Business backers of the campaign include giants Bourne Leisure and Merlin Entertainments, as well as small B&B owners and Hotel operators up and down the country.

    In a statement, Raymond Blanc warned:

    “In my beloved France the rate of VAT is 10% in Hotels and yet here in Great Britain it is 20%. This automatically puts us in Great Britain at a disadvantage as a global player.”

    He then went on to say:

    “The Hospitality industry is the leader in spearheading the reduction in youth unemployment and any action which would create more jobs and put more youngsters into employment would be beneficial to the treasury”

    Philip Newman-Hall, General Manager of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, agreed with Raymomd Blanc’s comments and added:

    “We are supposed to be one European Union but the differing tax regimes which lead to lower prices will always draw tourism away from the UK – not just incoming tourism that will go elsewhere, but also outgoing tourism that will leave the country rather than take a ‘staycation’. The Government should be looking at the long-term issues of employment and parity, not just the short-term issue of tax revenues.”

    Raymond Blanc’s famous Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons restaurant-hotel is in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, near David Cameron’s Cotswold constituency of Witney. Great Milton is in the constituency of Henley, previously represented by Boris Johnson, now represented by John Howell, who is not a campaign supporter.

    Despite David Cameron’s own seat being located in the scenic Cotswolds, and Cornwall being a favourite holiday destination of the Prime Minister, there still is no central plan to help the UK Tourism industry.

    Nigel Reed, of Pendragon Country House in Davidstow, Cornwall, has urged the PM to reconsider his position on cutting VAT for hotels and attractions:

    “It is vitally important that the UK cuts Tourism VAT to become in line with, and therefore, competitive with mainland Europe. Current UK Tourism VAT is a rip-off for visitors from home and abroad, and there is huge evidence to show that it disadvantages the UK Tourism industry and the UK as a whole.”

    He was joined by Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainment, who said:

    “We have a fantastic tourism product in this country, with the most beautiful countryside, beaches, landscapes and premier league attractions. There are also really good accommodation providers out there from superb hotels to brilliant B&Bs. Let’s try and give them a break and do something good for the economy.”

    Dermot King, Managing Director at Butlins, also said:

    “We need to recognise that tourism isn’t just the country’s biggest employer of young people or the social heart of hundreds of towns, but the economic driver of many British regions. This is about investing in the future of those areas – where hotels and attractions are potentially the lifeblood of economic recovery – so that our improving business climate can benefit everyone and not just the South East.”

    Daniel Fountain / 17.07.2014

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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