Radical overhaul of rates and VAT crucial for growth

Glyn Roberts, left, and Colin Neill, right, pictured in London with Shadow Secretary of State Owen Smith, centre left, and Nigel Dodds MP

Significant changes to the system of business rates and VAT as applied to the tourism and hospitality sectors must be achieved for the province to grow as a whole industry leaders have claimed.

Speaking at a reception to highlight the potential for growth in the province, Colin Neill, CEO of Hospitality NI said sorting out the current tax regime was critical.

Speaking to a gathering ofMPs Lords and business people, they also called for support for the concept of City Deals for Belfast and Londonderry and both cities’ bids for the title of European City of Culture.

“This reception is all about selling and promoting Northern Ireland plc and despite the political situation, the fantastic potential of our economy,” the men said in a joint statement.

“Both our organisation represent two of Northern Ireland’s largest sectors and we have a shared aim of making Northern Ireland the very best place in these islands to locate and start a business and to shop and socialise.

“We want to see radical changes to Hospitality / Tourism VAT and Business Rates, investment in our infrastructure, particularly in our rural towns, and world class skills and training to secure the future of our economy.”

Stressing the need to see devolved government restored, the men said the preference “will always be for local devolved Ministers to take these key decisions”.

“We also need to change the conversation on Brexit - instead of focusing on the problems let’s focus on the solutions that will stimulate economic growth. A hard border on the island of Ireland, or one across the Irish Sea needs to be avoided.”

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