The Government response to the call for evidence of the impact of VAT and APD on tourism in Northern Ireland is disappointing that the Government continues to hide behind EU rules – especially as the UK is about to leave the Union.
As an excuse not to take the pro-growth measures that would benefit Northern Ireland travel and tourism are;
- We believe that insufficient consideration has been given to the wealth of evidence presented regarding the positive impact of cutting tourism VAT in the Republic of Ireland.
- We would urge HM Treasury to keep tourism VAT under review, especially on the brink of Brexit, as a possible avenue for boosting the UK economy;
- On APD, the travel industry has commissioned two independent reports on APD (both from PWC), which show the clear economic benefit that a significant cut to APD would deliver. Cutting short-haul APD will boost the competitiveness of the NI economy and increase connectivity, opening up new routes to Europe and beyond.
- As an urgent action, we believe the Treasury must conduct their own detailed economic modelling to fully understand the potential benefits of reducing APD, especially as the Chancellor looks to shape the post-Brexit economy.
- It is also vital that the voice of the tourism and business community of Northern Ireland is heard, and that we are invited to play an active role on the newly formed technical working group, which will consider the benefits of short-haul devolution. NITA looks forward to constructive engagement with HM Treasury on this point.