MP Wilson backs campaign for VAT rates reduction

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East Antim MP Sammy Wilson

has spoken in support of a motion at Westminster calling for a reduction in VAT rates for the hospitality sector.

In a statement, Mr Wilson said: “I am glad to have been able to speak in support of this important motion at Westminster.

“A reduction in VAT rates for our pubs, restaurants and hotels is something I have been in support of since my time as Finance Minister in Northern Ireland.

“I will continue to lobby for this reduction at Westminster so that businesses in Northern Ireland are given a fighting chance to stay afloat and compete with their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland.”

The motion was tabled by the SDLP’s Margaret Ritchie MP who called for recognition of the difficulties faced by local restaurants and pubs in the current economy.

The Republic of Ireland, has already introduced a reduced rate of VAT within the tourism and hospitality sectors for hotels, restaurants which has “impacted positively” on that sector.

Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster Colin Neill said: “It is highly encouraging that this matter has been debated at Westminster.

“Pubs of Ulster have long been at the front of a campaign to reduce VAT rates for pubs, restaurants and hotels who are struggling to make ends meet.

“It is extremely hard for businesses in Northern Ireland with a VAT rate of 20% to compete with pubs and restaurants in the Republic of Ireland which benefit from a VAT rate reduced from 13.5% to nine per cent. The Republic of Ireland has a competitive advantage over Northern Ireland and has attracted more domestic tourism.”

as well as creating over 6,000 additional jobs in the process.

“We would call on the Chancellor to look at making the same sector specific reduction so that it can compete with the Republic on a level footing and claim a greater share of island wide tourism.”