B&B Owners - What do you think about the proposed Bed Tax?

Chris Parkin

We recently canvassed www.bandbowner.com Members and members of tourism associations around the country for their thoughts on the proposal by Sir Michael Lyons to introduce a Tourism Tax tax known as The Bed Tax to help fund local government investment into Tourism.

Below are just some of the comments (it would be impossible to include them all) that have been expressed and whilst I have tied to present a balanced view of the proposal it has been impossible because I haven't had a single contact in favour of the tax.

I was invited to attend a meeting with Sir Michael Lyons where small business owners from across the spectrum of business categories were able to comment on the proposals contained in his interim report. I invited Sir Michael to look at the comments on this page and explained why this type of taxation is unfair to this industry.

I published a page on this meeting here

As a local householder and business woman I believe that everyone already pays enough to support the local economy. We can all help by charging the right price for the job and passing it on to our employees. Instead of a bed tax why not charge the holiday makers as they enter XXXXXXXXX? you might as well.

Suggest the Government makes a fairer uniform business rate based either on turnover or profit( available each year from tax returns and therefore easy to assess and collect) and not from property asset.......We are already over penalised and more fairness needs to be introduced with all companies/businesses contributing equally.

Any "Bed Tax" would therefore have an extremely adverse affect on the XXXXXX tourism industry and would seriously affect the local economy.

Just to target hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation would be unfair. A road tax would be much fairer as it is not penalising one particular industry but putting the onus on the tourist to pay a tax which they would see as more 'normal'. i.e. which they are much used to paying in countries like France.
Our accommodation prices are already way ahead of most of Europe and in a county like XXXXXXX which depends on tourism for most livelihoods, (and unlike many other tourist destinations abroad, has an unreliable weather pattern), the danger would be tourists from the u.k. and abroad will opt for a more certain climate destination and a much cheaper one (as many are already doing viz Split, Croatia and Bulgaria etc.)
Also very importantly for Government, many people who are retired but have insufficient pension to manage, opt for bed and breakfast, utilising their spare rooms. This helps the older population be self sufficient so is less a strain on government (particularly local resources.
So although the local government might be getting more funds through a bed tax they could be losing much more in the long run as tourists shun increased prices and go somewhere else.

1. It is inherently unfair
2. It will be difficult to collect
3. It will be unpopular with businesses and tourists alike.
4. Some local authorities would not earn sufficient from a tourist tax for it to be worthwhile collecting
5. A local sales tax would be fairer.

We are appalled at the proposal of a levy on tourists. The imposition of a bed tax would greatly harm this business. The tourist trade in this part of the world is very seasonal, even the local pubs are closed at 10 pm in winter.
We have about 16 very profitable weeks in the middle of summer. Trade in autumn and spring is very dependent on the weather, this year, for example, the long cold spring meant few tourists in the area. We still have to pay our business rates however many guests that we have.
It is so difficult to make a living in this area that in the past four or five years we have lost 3 hotels and a number of bed and breakfast establishments. Two of the hotels have been converted to private dwellings, the third takes only clients referred by the Department of Health and Social Security.
A bed tax would make it impossible for ourselves and similar organisations to continue to trade. If this tax is imposed, we will have no option but to stop trading.

How much more can the tourism industry take? In XXXXXXXX..and many other parts of the country B&Bs are closing down because of the quality standards legislation..not so much because of the legislation, more the cost.
Very soon they will be worrying over new fire legislation...and then the bed tax... We are already seeing masses of people holidaying abroad because it is cheaper...if the government go on like this Britain will not have a tourism industry and then what will happen?

Here we are contemplating the introduction of a new Bed Tax. Tourists already pay VAT along with other British taxes for which they receive no benefit or compensation as we Briton's do. Surely we should not burden them further with more Taxation? I believe the proposed Bed Tax is totally counterproductive and should be discarded at the earliest opportunity!

You are JUST encouraging and driving holiday makers to go abroad, you should be encourage people to STOP in the COUNTRY.

This is an outrageous extra tax. As a small guest house we already pay Business and Council tax plus VAT on most products bought. Although the season is extending we don't have a consistent income all year round.
If we had to pay an extra tax this would drive us out of business as we would have to increase our rates to our guests, which we do try to keep to a reasonable charge. It is already cheaper to holiday abroad and would probably encourage less people to holiday in XXXXXXX.

Effectively tourists are contributing to the country's taxes already.
Firstly there are my taxes, then the more people I employ to work here...electrician, plumber, garden designer etc who pay more taxes from the money from me which has come from my visitors. They pay crazy car parking fees every where they go where car parking is not included in attraction admission prices.
To go for a meal out in my local town in the evening costs an additional 80pence and hour in parking and the same price during the day to wander around and spend money in the shops, cafes and pubs. They are already contributing to taxes.
Suggest that Government and councils start looking at their own expenditure and start acting like a business. How about starting by charging their own staff for parking? This would increase revenue and encourage staff to car share, walk ,use the bus etc.
I know there are already businesses who charge an additional amount e.g. �1 per room per night which goes to local environmental charities. people are happy to support this voluntary charge as they can see it does good . if a bed tax were introduced this would not be tolerated as well.

We think that a tourist tax on hotels would ruin the local industry; we have hard enough job now to attract customers because of cheap air fares abroad and the high price of fuel (which is already taxed). The local government will find that more and more B&B and guest house shutting down as it will not be worth keeping open.
So the towns will turn into ghost towns. If this happens then the local government will get less money than it gets now as there will be no tourist industry. Then will have to spend more money to entice people to reopen and rejuvenate the area to entice tourists back.

Please pass on our deep concern over the bed tax proposal.We are already taxed heavily via the VAT system and are having to cope with huge increases for gas,electricity and water.
We only have a limited season to establish our turnover and to make holidays in the UK less attractive by effectively increasing the price via a bed tax is iniquitous.We would have the invidious choice of absorbing the tax and reducing already slim margins or passing it on and reducing the number of guests either way it would make trading very difficult and probably send a lot of businesses under reducing local government receipts from business rates.Additionally those surviving businesses would have an additional administrative burden.
We already pay business rates, pay extra for our refuse and are a base for tourists whose spending contributes greatly to the local economy and enables other businesses to pay their business rates. Hotels in our area are already being converted into flats and holiday homes and this tax would see this trend dramatically accelerated.

I can see the point of such a tax, but it may be hard to swallow given the burdens placed on us by HE, the New Fire Order and DDA. The question that I would like to get asked is "If such a tax is to be forced upon us. How much is it likely to be and more importantly how is it to be collected. Are we to be unpaid collectors for the local councils?

* In recent years we have seen our business rates rise considerably, our gas and electricity costs rise, our council tax has gone up dramatically too and we are already the highest paying water consumers in the Country. Add to this the added burdens of the Disability Discrimination Act, the new Fire Regulations, the Environmental Health Act and I can assure you that this is not an easy living and we do NOT make a huge profit. The mortgage rate has gone up this month and we are paying the second highest rate of VAT in Europe. Whilst we appreciate that our Local Authorities and services are under added pressure during the height of the season due to the vast number of visitors in our small towns, this proposal is not the way to raise revenue, unless it is only aimed at large hotels and businesses with large turnovers as for most of us, any additional financial burdens will only increase the amount of B&Bs that wish to throw in the towel and convert to flats. The traditional B&B has been part of our heritage for many years and this proposal, we fear, will see its downfall, it is that serious.
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