According to an article in the Morning Advertiser, the pub trade's newspaper, "A new Government report on how red tape cuts should be enforced has praised the hospitality industry, calling it 'key to the UK economy'. Regulation and Growth, compiled by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, noted that the tourism and hospitality sector is 'ripe in growth potential' and acknowledged estimates from the trade that 510,000 new hospitality jobs can be created by 2020.
The report discusses how regulations, rather than getting in the way, should assist the industry to reduce costs and support growth at local and national level. So will they now look at our grossly over-regulated pub industry and analyse what unnecessary interference is seriously damaging what is still a major part of the hospitality industry, and a major employer to boot? I seriously doubt it: reports are all well and good, but it's what the government chooses to do with them that counts, and very many reports are shelved if when they don't suit ministers' prejudices.
As John Ellis of the Crown Inn, Oakengates, says in the comments underneath the article, "If we are so 'key to the economy', why are they trying to tax us out of existence?" Good question, which deserves an answer, but won't get one.
The Advertiser has told the government to "put your money where your mouth is" by setting up an e-petition to Parliament to reduce the reduce VAT to 5% for the hospitality sector, pointing out that '21 countries in the EU have a lower VAT rate for the hotel sector and 13 for the overall hospitality sector. In France, tax was reduced from 19.65% to 5% and led to the creation of 21,700 jobs in the first year. A cut in VAT could help create 320,000 jobs in the post Olympic years and help save pubs, restaurants and hotels.'
Even if these figures are over-optimistic, the general point is still true. The petition has a long way to go before it reaches the 100,000 signatures that would trigger a Commons debate. Why not help it along by signing it here?