In September, BALPPA submitted evidence to the House of Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Following this, the committee invited BALPPA to address them on the subjects of tourism and VAT. Also in attendance was Graham Wason, Chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign and David Bridgford of Merlin. Following this session the ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’ campaign to cut APD gave evidence.
It was a wide ranging discussion, and it was notable that at least two members of the committee – Conor Burns MP and Tracey Crouch MP – were persuaded of the advantages of a VAT cut. Burns took the unusual step of requesting a meeting during the committee session and Crouch approach us after to request a meeting too, even offering to go on the local radio in Kent. With the APD campaign in after, Paul Kelly (BALPPA CEO) made the point that, although their campaign has merits, cutting VAT would be a more effective measure in terms of supporting local and regional attractions.
Tourism was discussed more widely. Paul spoke about how, although the overall landscape in the UK is one of a successful industry, the regional picture is very mixed. He added that the provision of support for the industry is patchy, saying a more coordinated approach would help. Ben Bradshaw MP, a former Secretary of State for DCMS, and Paul also discussed the barriers that transport links create in travelling around the UK.
Furthermore, there was a discussion about how the current arrangements in Government are not the most effective for supporting the industry – noting that in a recent reshuffle the word ‘tourism’ was removed from the tourism minister’s job title.
BALPPA has a number of opportunities to follow up on after the session and will look forward to reading the committee’s report which we expect to be produced in the coming months.