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VAT cut could help save summer season for thousands

A leading north west leisure expert has welcomed the latest government announcement to cut VAT in the tourism sector as a way to support the sector which could save jobs in the region.

Jamie Allison, from regional law firm Napthens, says a cut on Value Added Tax to five per cent until January will allow business owners to make the most of a staycation boom this summer and hopefully it will assist them recover losses sustained from earlier in the season.

“Only a few months ago, many businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector were writing-off the entire year as a complete loss and discussing redundancies. However, the recent lifting of lockdown on the leisure industries, along with an increase in staycation bookings and now the VAT cut will hopefully at least allow many to help prevent further losses, retain staff and try and look ahead more positively to 2021.

“This cut will hopefully give business owners the options whether to invest back into the business, pay off liabilities or pass something back to the customer by way of discounts to encourage more spending in the long run.

“Additionally, the introduction of a government discount of food spend in August will help to convince people that it is safe to visit the pub or book a table at their favourite restaurant and restart the hospitality industry in the longer term.

“Business owners in the North West have been campaigning for a cut on tourism VAT for many years. While nobody wanted a global lockdown to make it happen, the onus is on the sector now to make the most of this benefit and, all being well, prove that it can have a positive impact on increasing domestic tourism and helping businesses to flourish.”

The announcement from the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said business owners would only be required to pay five per cent of Value Added Tax on food, accommodation and attraction entries, including cinemas, zoos and theme parks, between Wednesday 15 July and Tuesday 12 January 2021.

Additionally, the government has announced an ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ discount scheme, to compensate businesses which offer 50 per cent discounts on restaurant meals in August.

Napthens has been offering advice to navigate the coronavirus pandemic with a specially assembled team, offering advice on employment, health and safety, signposting for funding solutions and business support.

For more information on the support available, visit our COVID-19 Hub