Call for tourism to be protected

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A CALL for the UK Government to cut the rate of VAT to boost golf tourism has been made by Graeme Dey, MSP for Angus South.

Mr Dey said London should move to protect Scottish tourism interests by following the Irish Government’s lead in cutting VAT rates for the tourism and golf services industry. And he praised the efforts of Scotland’s Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing in pressing the UK Minister for Tourism and Heritage to consider the measures taken in Ireland.

Mr Dey said: “Tourism makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.

“It is particularly important to an area like Angus South.

“But because of the UK government’s reluctance to follow Ireland’s lead, Scotland’s tourism and golf sectors are being placed at a competitive disadvantage with Ireland who, in some instances, we are going head to head with.

“Scotland should be allowed the same opportunity as Ireland and have our tourism and golf tourism reap the benefits of a reduction in VAT.”

Responding to Mr Dey in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Ewing revealed that 23 EU countries have a reduced rate of VAT for their tourism and hospitality sectors.

Mr Dey added: “All of these countries are benefitting from a VAT cut – why can’t Scotland do the same?

“We have enormous tourism potential in Angus, with major attractions including Carnoustie Golf Course, Arbroath Abbey and JM Barrie’s Birthplace.

“It is vital that we are allowed to compete for visitors on a level playing field.”