Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has called for a reduction in VAT on products and services in the tourism and hospitality sector to harmonise rates across Ireland.
The Fermanagh MLA made the call after Dublin’s tourism minister Paschal Donohoe, announced that reducing VAT resulted in the creation of 30,000 additional jobs in tourism during the last year.
Mr Flanagan who is also Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee said:
“There is growing evidence that reducing the rate of VAT on products and services in the tourism and hospitality sectors has a positive impact on the wider economy.
“Harmonising the rate across Ireland to the lower level of 9% makes sense. It is something that should be introduced as a matter of urgency to invigorate the tourism sector by making it more affordable.
“The benefits of such a policy are obvious but once more, as with Corporation Tax and Air Passenger Duty (APD) it is not within the Assembly’s responsibility.
“This is another example of why we need to demand transfer of the full suite of fiscal powers to the Executive.
“Being able to set Corporation Tax and VAT rates and remove the APD would stimulate growth in the manufacturing and tourist sectors and create additional employment and business start-ups.
“A lower VAT rate would be beneficial in attracting visitors from other parts of the world. It would also encourage more local people to visit attractions closer to home and make the most of the excellent hospitality and tourism offering that we have.
“I am therefore calling on Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton to take the necessary steps to secure a reduction in VAT urgently so that we can compete on a level playing field with the rest of the island.”