The Bed Tax - 3 reasons why think it's fundamentally flawed

Chris Parkin

Tourism is a key economic activity. Latest figures show that 2.1 million people are directly employed in tourism - some 7% of ALL people in employment in Great Britain. Our tourism industry consists of 127,000 businesses, 80% of which have a turnover of less than £250,000 per annum.

<center>Sir Michael Lyons - Bed Tax?<br>
CBSO / Adrian Burrows</center>
Sir Michael Lyons - Bed Tax?
CBSO / Adrian Burrows

According to the paper from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport:
"TOMORROW'S TOURISM - A growth industry for the new Millennium"

"Britain's tourism industry is big and growing bigger: it has accounted for one in six of all new jobs created in the last ten years; it is worth £53 billion a year... but our share of the world market is declining"

"The Government is ambitious for Britain and British tourism. We are proud of what this country has to offer and want to make the most of it.
That is why we are setting a new, challenging target for the British tourism industry. We want to see it match and exceed the rate of global growth in the industry by the end of 2010."

"Meeting these ambitions will not happen automatically. Government and the tourism industry together need an effective strategy."

As tourists, visitors or guests staying in the UK already pay the second highest rate of VAT in the European Community, we feel that raising additional taxation from Tourists, Visitors and Guests, which will not be directly reinvested in the industry, is unfair, because:

  1. Imposing a tax on Tourists/Visitors who contribute more to the local economy by using other local services, when staying at a destination, discriminates against them and the accommodation sector that already pays significant business taxation and supports the local economy.
  2. Bandbowner, recognising that most accommodation providers in Tourist/Visitor destinations are small/micro businesses, fails to see how the tax could be economically collected.
  3. Price increases will damage the competitiveness of the UK as a visitor destination both at home and abroad.

For these reasons, we are against the introduction of a Tourism Tax or Bed Tax. have been invited to a meeting with Sir Michael to express the views of the smaller accommodation sector in the industry and we'd like your input on what you think we should say to Sir Michael Lyons.

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