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In this update
- Tax-free shopping focus at party conferences ahead of Chancellor’s autumn statement
- Autumn statement submissions deadline
- New fire guidance published as new rules come into force
- TMI Convention – 11th and 12th October
- The Government’s ‘long-term plan for towns’
Tax-free shopping focus at party conferences ahead of Chancellor’s autumn statement
We joined a roundtable lunch at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this week which brought together industry and MP supporters of the campaign to bring tax-free shopping back for our international visitors. There will be a similar event at next week’s Labour Party Conference too.
As you know, this is an extremely important issue for the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors, and much work is happening behind the scenes with the Treasury, Number 10 and others alongside significant high-profile press support from the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard and others.
The fact is that we are the only large European economy not to offer tax-free shopping to international visitors which places us at a significant disadvantage compared to other destinations such as France and Italy, especially for the Chinese market, for whom shopping is an extremely important part of their trip.
The blocker is that the Treasury is relying on unrealistic assumptions about the cost of the policy – they say it would cost £2bn. A study looking at the broader impact of the policy by Oxford Economics, on the other hand, shows that far from it costing this amount of money, the policy would generate additional income and encourage more visitors, resulting in a net gain to the Treasury of £350m. Remember, any spend on services that visitors make while here – such as visiting attractions, eating and drinking, and staying in accommodation, is not reclaimable under such a policy.
Our ask of the Treasury is to commission an independent analysis of the cost of this policy, and its impact on the wider economy. There are plenty of supporters of that ask in Westminster and Whitehall, and industry is making the case by showing the impact of the policy in data submissions to the Treasury.
I am pleased to report that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, voiced strong backing to the campaign earlier today at the Visitor Attractions Conference.
Autumn statement submissions deadline
Speaking of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the deadline to make online submissions is next Friday, 13thOctober.
For those of you making a submission on behalf of your sector please do include a call for a review of the data on tax-free shopping. It needn’t be too detailed, but you can find more materials in support of our objectives as well as further guidance and stats on the Association of International Retails (AIR)’s website.
New fire guidance published as new rules come into force
As mentioned in last week’s update, new fire regulations came into force on Sunday, 1st October.
The amended Fire Safety Order 2005 changes many of the requirements that accomodation properties must follow to protect guests and follow the law.
The Home Office have published two important documents:
The People with duties under fire safety laws – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) is intended to assist ‘persons’ with duties under fire safety legislation in England to comply with the legislation.
The Fire Safety Order: enforcement and sanctions for non-compliance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) explains how the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (as amended) is enforced and advises of the sanctions that are available to Enforcing Authorities if responsible persons fail to comply with this legislation.
TMI Convention – 11th and 12th October
For those of you going to the Tourism Management Institute Convention in Lincoln next week, we will see you there.
The theme of the event is ‘Radical new approaches to destination management’ and features a range of speakers and discussions on that topic, as well as offering a number of tours in the local area.
TMI are offering their member rate to all TA members, so if you’d like to book and haven’t done so yet, please head to their booking page.
The Government’s ‘long-term plan for towns’
As part of a series of announcements around the Conservative Party Conference, the Government has published its strategy for towns.
“Our Long-Term Plan For Towns” identifies 55 towns across the UK which will share £1.1bn of investment as part of a broader change in the governance and strategy direction of these places.
The importance of the visitor economy to many, if not all, of these towns is sadly not really recognised in the document, although there is a focus on high streets, heritage and regeneration as well as transport and connectivity, all of which should have a positive impact.