Chancellor Must Set Out Support for The Tourism Sector

The Chancellor (pictured) must use his upcoming fiscal statement to set out targeted support for Scotland and the UK’s tourism industry – one of the hardest hit sectors by the pandemic.

Richard Thomson MP has called on Rishi Sunak to follow steps taken by EU countries for sectoral support to stimulate growth, safeguard thousands of jobs, and secure the industry’s long-term future.

The SNP has set out key asks ahead of the Chancellor’s statement, including:

Converting loan schemes to grants to prevent firms taking on unmanageable debt and being pushed further into hardship,

Extending the Job Retention Scheme & Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and clarifying access to schemes for the devolved nations for as long as is required,

And, ending VAT for the tourism sector.

Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:

“At a time when the tourism sector would be preparing for its peak season, the industry instead finds itself struggling to stay above water due to the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The measures brought forward by the Treasury so far have been welcome, but it’s clear that without extended, strengthened and targeted support, the tourism sector will be pushed over the brink – costing thousands of jobs, forcing firms to close, and delivering a body blow to our economy.

“The tourism industry contributes massively to Scotland’s economy – worth around £10.5 billion – and during these unprecedented times it’s clear that we need unprecedented support.

“In his upcoming statement, the Chancellor must heed the SNP’s calls to protect the industry by extending the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme for as long as is necessary; converting loan schemes to grants as firms face being burdened with unmanageable debt; and providing VAT relief for the sector.

“The UK is one of the few European countries to charge full VAT on hospitality services.

“Countries such as Ireland and Germany have provided a tax subsidy boosting the industry, and I call on the Chancellor to finally provide this much-needed relief.

“Analysis has shown that the tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit due to the pandemic, and it is critical that in its time of need the Chancellor must go beyond hollow words and deliver tangible support.”