PASC UK has been a contributor to the CUT Tourism VAT campaign from the day that PASC UK came into being. We are really lucky to have a Board Member, Graham Wason, who has been such a huge part of this campaign. During the pandemic we saw the Government reduce VAT for hospitality after much lobbying. For those that have to charge it, it was regarded as the most significant support offered during the pandemic. We continue to lobby for a permanent reduction in VAT for the sector.
BUSINESS RATES CONSULTATION. PART ONE. THE MULTIPLIER
Over the winter of 2020/2021 The Government launched a consolation into the Business Rates Multiplier. This is effectively the percentage that calculates your bill from the Rateable Value (RV). There may be other transitional or other reliefs, but it’s a reasonable rule of thumb.
It’s worth noting that when the Multiplier was introduced in 1990 it was .346, it is now .491 for businesses under the £51k threshold and .504 for those over, which in itself has been massive inflation.The response to this Consultation noted how disproportionately high Business Rates were for hospitality business and recommended a Multiplier for Hospitality of. .35.
BUSINESS RATES CONSULTATION. PART TWO
In early July 2021 the Government finally launched the much-vaunted comprehensive Business Rates Review. Over the next weeks we will update you on progress and PASC UK will be submitting a paper to this consultation. Find out more here.
BUSINESS RATES AND SECOND HOMES
BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) are about to conclude their findings and propose changes to taxation and legislation on the thorny issue of second-homes and Business Rates. PASC UK fed into this process to try and ensure that any unforeseen and damaging consequences are avoided. This was not a Consultation, it was a Review, and it will be published shortly.
STATUTORY REGISTRATION IN ENGLAND
The Government has published a Tourism Recovery Plan. In it, HMG announced that they will launch a Consultation into Statutory Registration for accommodation let for money. Whilst we welcome this, and have been arguing for this for many years, however, the devil remains in the detail. PASC UK will be pulling together evidence for a full and balanced submission on this subject, which needs to address having a level playing field for regulation and taxation, as well as dealing with over-tourism issues in some areas.
STATUTORY REGISTRATION AND INCREASED TAXATION IN WALES
The Welsh Government website launched a plan in early July 2021 that will have far reaching impacts on the short term letting/self-catering sector. It is more wide-reaching and coming sooner than many expected.
It is a three-pronged approach (their words).
- support – addressing affordability and availability of housing
- regulatory framework and system – covering planning law and the introduction of a statutory registration scheme for holiday accommodation; and
- a fairer contribution – using national and local taxation systems to ensure second homeowners make a fair and effective contribution to the communities in which they buy.
They plan to roll out the pilot area this summer and will include work on a registration scheme for all holiday accommodation and a consultation on changes to local taxes to manage the impact of second homes and self-catered accommodation, will also begin over the summer.
Nowhere in the document could we find how they intend to define second homes, however there is a commitment at the end of the document to work with Stakeholders. PASC UK will work with partners, including the Wales Tourism Alliance to try and ensure a balanced outcome that does not damage real businesses and the wider tourism sector in Wales.
STATUTORY REGISTRATION AND LICENSING IN SCOTLAND
In early July we had the announcement that the Scottish Government plans to push ahead with it’s Draft Licensing legislation for short term lets. It is expected to go forward for ratification in September, with consultations on it closing in August. This is a seriously heavyweight piece of legislation, and much harsher on the sector than anything proposed in England or Wales. Fiona Campbell CEO of the ASSC (Association of Scotland self-Caterers) sums it up well..
“The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers and other tourism stakeholders engaged constructively with the working group on short-term lets to find solutions to the concerns raised in the last parliamentary session regarding the licensing order which was widely regarded as unfit for purpose. Unfortunately, the updated proposals do not strike the appropriate balance and only contains minimal changes. Contrary to commitments made, it has fundamentally failed to address the concerns of the tourism industry – and this is at a time when many businesses have been struggling due to the impact of Covid-19.
An onerous licensing scheme is the last thing our sector needs at this challenging time. Our survey work demonstrates that around half of our self-catering operators would close their business if this came to fruition. It is not too late for the Scottish Government to change course and back Scottish tourism for a sustainable recovery. Our proposals for a mandatory registration scheme, which crucially addresses health and safety issues, will help to secure the Scottish Government’s policy objectives in a more cost-effective and proportionate manner.”
PASC UK is fully supportive of the work being done by the ASSC and believes that not only is the proposed legislation would do serious damage to the wider sector, it’s been described as a ‘hammer to crack a nut’, but that the timing is just plain awful. The sector is not even fully open and will take years to recover from the pandemic without having to worry about this too.
More details as they emerge…