Holiday tax cut call to boost jobs across Leeds and Yorkshire

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HOTELS, B&Bs and tourist hotspots across Yorkshire would be handed a jobs boost if the Chancellor axed holiday VAT, campaigners have said.

George Osborne has been urged to use his upcoming Autumn Statement to VAT and create 120,000 jobs nationwide, 8,500 of those in the region 600 across Leeds. Cutting the rate from 20 per cent down to five per cent would be worth £250m a year to Yorkshire’s economy, and EU rules give the Chancellor the chance to do just.

Graham Wason, chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign, said: “George Osborne has a fantastic opportunity in the Autumn Statement to unveil a tax cut that would create thousands of jobs, inject millions of pounds into regional economies outside of London, and even result in a fiscal surplus for the Treasury.

“What’s more, many of the benefits would be felt as soon as a cut is announced.”

Mr Osborne is said to be reluctant to back the change, favouring instead income tax changes alongside commitments to large scale infrastructure projects for the north.

Labour has been looking at the campaign’s evidence, with shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman asking the Tourism Alliance for more research into the benefits.

In Yorkshire, any move to cut VAT would be welcome, the region’s leading tourism body said.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Tourism plays a key role in both the national and regional economies, so anything that could tangibly boost our sector would be welcomed.”

A Government spokesman said: “The government agreed with industry that the Tourism Council should focus on jobs and skills.

“While we keep all taxes under review, we do not have any plans to introduce a VAT cut for the tourism sector.”

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