Slash tourism VAT to kick-start rural economy, says rural business group

The Eastern Daily Press reports on calls from countryside business leaders to cut VAT on tourism businesses to five percent to help the rural economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis

The idea is one of several suggestions made by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) to help the rural economy recover from the severe financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. CLA East regional director Cath Crowther said: ‘rural tourism businesses will see revenues fall by up to £17.6 billion this year. It is right that, for the moment, people stay away and follow Government guidelines.

When the restrictions are lifted, we are encouraging everyone to book their family holiday in the beauty and safety of the British landscape.’

She explained that in the UK, VAT on tourism businesses, at 20 percent, is far higher than in many other countries, including France (10 percent), Spain (10 percent) and Greece (13 percent).

A reduction in VAT to levels seen in other countries would therefore ensure that domestic tourism is ‘competitive and affordable’, which will significantly boost the economy and ‘keep our carbon footprint down.’

The CLA published a paper named COVID-19: Restarting the economy in rural areas this week arguing that rural areas have an ‘in-built advantage to implement social distancing thanks to lower population density, more space and less reliance on public transport’.

This comes as Cambridgeshire Live also reports that rural businesses are being urged to contact their district councils to receive emergency COVID-19 relief funding.

The head of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, John Bridge OBE DL, urged businesses who may be eligible to contact their district councils, especially those in rural areas where figures suggest businesses are claiming the least.

Full articles:

The Eastern Daily Press - Slash tourism VAT to kick-start rural economy, says rural business group

Cambridgeshire Live - Businesses urged to contact district councils for emergency grants as rural areas receive the least


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