VAT cut proposal dismissed by tourism minister

The government has dismissed industry calls for a reduction in value added tax (VAT) on tourist attractions in the UK.

A number of business figures, headed by Merlin Entertainments CEO Nick Varney, have been calling on the government to slash VAT from 20% to 5%.

But tourism minister John Penrose yesterday rejected the suggestion during a visit to Blackpool yesterday.

“Money is tight and I think everybody understands that. So reducing VAT I’m afraid, when we have governments struggling in Greece and Italy, is asking a bit much but perhaps people recognise that,” he told the Blackpool Gazette newspaper.

“In Blackpool along with all sorts of destinations around the country, what we’re all discovering is that if you expect the public sector to run to your aid all the time, history has proven it doesn’t always work.

“What all businesses are finding is that if they can band together they can do stuff for themselves and often it’s an awful lot better.”