Andrew Lloyd Webber joins clamour to ditch the hated tourist tax
- Scrap The Tourist Tax campaign was launched to echo business leaders’ pleas
- Open letter sets out how sectors are losing out to rival shopping heartlands
Andrew Lloyd Webber has joined calls from some of the country’s best-known theatres and hotels in heaping further pressure on the Chancellor to ditch the tourist tax.
The composer has added his name to more than 320 business chiefs in calling for a return of VAT-free shopping for international visitors.
The Mail’s Scrap The Tourist Tax campaign, which has won cross-party backing, was launched to echo business leaders’ pleas for the Government to change its stance.
In less than two months, firms have signed an open letter, organised by leading hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, which sets out how their sectors are losing out to rival shopping heartlands such as Paris. The latest signatories include Primark, Jigsaw, the Swatch Group and department store Fenwick.
Lord Lloyd-Webber’s addition to the rallying cry has highlighted arguments that the levy is decimating the entire British economy, including cultural gems such as theatreland, as well as retailers.
The 75-year-old has joined calls from venues such as Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, The Old Vic and The Shaftesbury Theatre.
The industry is suffering from a slow return of tourists, bosses said yesterday. Neil Constable, chief executive of Shakespeare’s Globe, said: ‘We have seen a direct effect in our income streams with a missing percentage of previously reliable tourist spend at the Globe. Tax-free shopping works, and so we are joining this campaign asking to see tourism return to the UK, bouncing back post-pandemic to create a flourishing economy once again.’
Critics say that – far from the Treasury’s claim that scrapping the tourist tax would cost £2billion a year – there would be a net gain of around £350million.
A Treasury spokesman said: ‘We are backing high street retailers by slashing business rates bills by 75 per cent and effectively cutting corporation tax by £27billion through full-expensing.’