MSP calls for VAT cut

ANGUS South MSP Graeme Dey has called for the UK government to cut the rate of VAT to boost golf tourism.

Mr Dey raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament by saying that London should move to protect Scottish tourism interests by following the Irish government’s lead on cutting VAT for the golf services industry.

He explained: “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.”

In responding to Mr Dey raising the issue with him in the Scottish Parliament, Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing revealed that all told 23 EU countries have a reduced rate of VAT for their tourism and hospitality sectors.

Mr Dey added: “All of these countries are benefiting 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.”