Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Annex 2


  On Tuesday 20 March the UK Rural Economy Task Force announced measures to help rural businesses by encouraging visitors to return as quickly as possible to the countryside and by the imminent extension of countryside access to the public. They also announced a package of measures to alleviate financial hardship. Similar relief was announced by the Scottish Executive on 28 March.

  To help the tourism industry weather the foot and mouth outbreak a range of fiscal measures would be helpful, including:

    —  business rates relief for tourism SMEs in the hardest hit areas; and

    —  postpone the introduction of the climate change levy on fuel (Westminster).

  Once the foot and mouth outbreak is over, the following initiatives will help kick-start the industry's recovery. These include:

    —  direct the Lottery Commission to target funding toward projects that will help rural economies, (Westminster);

    —  abolish Air Passenger Duty as a symbolic gesture to the tourism industry, (Westminster);

    —  extend the proposed VAT recovery scheme for national museums and galleries to all museums and galleries, (Westminster);

    —  introduce a lower rate of VAT on accommodation to stimulate the British tourism industry in the same way that the Irish tourism industry was boosted in the 1980s, (Westminster);

    —  allow businesses to offset losses against next year's tax liability and to re-introduce the ability to offset maintenance costs against income for private historic property owners, (Westminster); and

    —  recognise inbound tourism as an export industry and provide the same level of incentives as currently apply to other export industries, (Westminster).

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