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Promoting the tourism industry in Northern Ireland through the tax system

9 November 2015

Tourism in Northern Ireland is worth over £750 million to the local economy, and is responsible for 43,000 jobs.  The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has decided to examine whether the UK's VAT rate places Northern Ireland's tourism and hospitality sector at a competitive disadvantage, and whether its reduction in Northern Ireland could promote growth.

Focus of the inquiry

The inquiry will consider the following issues:

  • What effect would a reduced rate of UK VAT have on the tourism and hospitality sector in Northern Ireland?
  • To what extent would reducing the rate of VAT encourage tourists to visit Northern Ireland?
  • What effect has there been in other countries that have implemented a reduced rate of VAT in their tourism and hospitality sectors?
  • What impact has the Republic of Ireland's 9% VAT rate on tourism had across the border in Northern Ireland?
  • What specific services should benefit from a reduced rate of VAT? What should be excluded?
  • Would a reduction in the rate of VAT lead to a loss of tax revenue and, if so, how should this be paid for?
  • What other tax changes could HM Government implement to support the tourism and hospitality industry in Northern Ireland, including the hosting of major international sporting events?

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 11 December 2015. Submissions should be no longer than 3000 words.

Send a written submission via the Promoting the tourism industry in Northern Ireland through the tax system inquiry page

Chair's comment

The Chair of the Committee, Laurence Robertson MP, said:

"The tourism and hospitality industry has a vital role to play in growing the Northern Irish economy and we are keen to find out how, through the tax system, HM Government can better support hotels, restaurants and other businesses to attract visitors. In particular, we want to explore whether the UK's 20% VAT rate is putting businesses at a competitive disadvantage, especially when compared with their counterparts across the border.

Northern Ireland is a great place to visit, with a wealth of natural beauty, historical interest and modern attractions. We hope our inquiry will help Northern Ireland's burgeoning tourism industry to further flourish."

Further information

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