Monday, November 20, 2017
   
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APD Move 'Step in Right Direction'

Belfast International Airport has said the decision between the Conservative Party and the DUP to review Air Passenger Duty (APD) is a 'step in the right direction'.

And the part of the deal which will look at the impact of VAT on NI tourism has also been welcomed by the local tourism industry.

The Airport’s Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said: “APD is clearly on the agenda and I have no doubt that its removal would have a most positive benefit for the Northern Ireland economy.

“We’re delighted it formed part of the discussions. In coming months, we will be vigorous and tireless in our efforts to get the right decision not only for the airport, but for the regional economy.

“We’re heartened to see a commitment to review this objectionable tax. It is a step in the right direction.

“There is little doubt but that APD is handing a significant and unnecessary advantage to the Republic of Ireland and the sooner that situation is corrected, the better.

“We will work with both the DUP and the Conservatives to ensure that all sides fully realise what we could achieve if we tackle APD head on.”

In response to the announcement that as part of the Conservative-DUP deal, a detailed consultative report will be commissioned into the impact of Tourism VAT on Northern Ireland, Dermot King, Chairman of the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT, says: “The commitment to consult on the impact of Tourism VAT in the DUP-Conservative deal shows the importance of the growing and successful hospitality and tourism sector to the economies of Northern Ireland and the entire United Kingdom.

"I am confident the findings of this consultation will show that Tourism VAT should be reduced to five per cent across every part of the UK, creating 121,000 jobs, increasing UK export earnings from tourism and bringing in £4.6bn to the Treasury over 10 years. The benefits would be felt most keenly in coastal and rural areas in need of regeneration. We look forward to submitting our extensive research to the government outlining the positive impacts of a reduction.”

The UK’s rate of VAT on visitor accommodation and attractions (Tourism VAT) at 20 per cent is double the European average. This particularly disadvantages Northern Ireland’s hospitality and tourism businesses as Tourism VAT in Ireland is levied at nine per cent.

Across Europe 33 countries have a reduced rate of VAT on tourism. The UK charges 20 per cent VAT for visitor accommodation, compared to seven per cent in Germany, nine per cent in the Republic of Ireland, and 10 per cent in Spain and Italy.

A reduction could be brought into effect immediately, as there is no need for legislation at the national or EU level. It's reckoned a reduction in the rate of tourism VAT to five per cent will stimulate investment and consumer spending and contribute £4.6 billion to the Exchequer over 10 years, and lead to a reduction in the UK’s balance of trade deficit by £23 billion over 10 years.

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