‘Secretary of State must argue for Tourism VAT Reduction’ – Ritchie

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Friday, July 3rd, 2015
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has pressed the Secretary of State of Northern Ireland to act as a “persuader” in convincing the Chancellor to reduce the rate of tourism VAT across the UK, which she said would benefit Northern Ireland. Margaret RitchieSpeaking after Northern Ireland Questions, Ritchie said, “Tourism is the fourth largest service industry in the UK, employing 9.6% of the workforce and contributing £127 billion to the economy in 2013. “The recent Irish Open in my own constituency of South Down is evidence of Northern Ireland’s thriving tourism and hospitality sector. Yet the UK is one of only three countries not to take advantage of reducing the rate of VAT in the sector as permitted by the EU. “The rate of tourism VAT in Northern Ireland remains at 20% despite the Finance Minister in the Republic of Ireland’s decision to retain the rate of 9% for the foreseeable future. “The 13% drop in overnight trips from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland revealed last night is just one indication of how this invariance is harming our economy. She added, “Reducing tourism VAT would help to create jobs and expand our tourism sector, giving Northern Ireland’s economy a much needed boost. I will continue to pursue this matter with the Secretary of State as well as with the Chancellor.”
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