Gov ignores VAT cut pleas in Budget

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Was there a hospitality VAT cut in the Spring Budget 2024

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Despite pleas from across the hospitality industry, the Chancellor did not announce any changes to VAT in the Spring Budget today (6 March).

This comes after leading voices from the sector urged for VAT to be cut down to 12.5% from its current 20% level. 

Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) chief executive Michael Kill said: "The economic challenges faced by our sector are catastrophic, and following today's spring budget announcement, the lack of support will have a profound impact on this sector for years to come.

"For months, the entire sector has been providing the Government with critical information outlining our precarious situation and the urgent need for supportive measures to sustain businesses through these turbulent times."

A spokesperson for NTIA Scotland added that businesses in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors in Scotland will be "bitterly disappointed" that there is not further support coming from the Chancellor on reducing the rate of VAT. 

They said: "This is clearly a missed opportunity to provide support directly to Scottish businesses, after the Scottish Government's recent budget failed to pass on the 75% business rates relief for the third year in a row, despite already being provided with some £260m in Barnett Consequential funding from Westminster to do so."

Sacha Lord, night time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, said the Spring Budget just changed history "for the worse".

He added: "In this election year, the industry must keep standing together as one to press all political parties to include greater support in their manifestos and bring us in line with our European counterparts, where the vast majority pay between 8 and 9% VAT.

"In the UK, we pay 20%. Our sector is not only becoming unrecognisable, but the job losses caused by the current downturn are devastating."

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) chairman Nik Antona said the Budget was a "missed opportunity" to back the Great British pub.

He said: “The Chancellor’s announcement that the VAT registration threshold for small businesses will be increased will not benefit the majority of pubs, breweries or cider producers.

"Cutting VAT on all sales in the hospitality sector would have been a simple way to support consumers and beer and pub businesses in all parts of the UK – helping to keep the nation’s pubs, social clubs and breweries alive and thriving at the heart of communities and local economies.

"The Chancellor should still consider cutting VAT for these businesses to ease the significant financial burdens on the sector and help to reduce the rate of pub and brewery closures which deprive consumers of community pubs and choice of local beers.” 

Carly Heath, night time economy advisor for Bristol, took to X to state: "Frustrating that the spring budget has not extended to much needed VAT relief for hospitality. Many of us have campaigned on this life-line and today’s budget will be a disappointment for many."

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