Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has welcomed the Chancellor extending the VAT reduction to five per cent until September in yesterday’s Budget.
Ms Ansell has been campaigning for months to ensure the reduction continued. VAT will only taper up after September when an interim rate of 12.5 per cent will continue for another six months, before a return to the original 20 per cent rate in April next year.
Business rates relief has also been extended until July with a 66 per cent discount continuing from July through to December.
“This is fantastic news for Eastbourne which is just so reliant on hospitality and tourism,” says the MP.
“Here in our town one in four jobs are in these sectors and this support, along with the New Recovery Loans, is going to make a huge difference.
“I would like to thank the Chancellor for listening to my views, particularly on VAT. I have been relentless on this issue because I believe jobs and livelihoods depend on it here in our town.
“We can now look forward to much better days ahead with massive pent up staycation demand and a desire to get out and about again. This means Eastbourne has the tools it needs to really start to recover.
“However, my long-term aim is for VAT to be permanently lowered and I will continue to talk to ministers about this.”
Eastbourne Hospitality Association’s Vice Chair Kristian Hayter also welcomed the extension of the VAT reduction.
“The reduction to five per cent has been crucial to the survival of hundreds of tourism and hospitality businesses,” she said.
“As we prepare to reopen this extension will support businesses to protect jobs and the tourism economy which is vital for our town.
“Pre-Covid tourism was worth £530 million to Eastbourne and accounted for nearly 30 per cent of jobs. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Caroline for her continuous lobbying on this matter and we will continue to seek further extensions as this is crucial to our sector.”
Ms Ansell also welcomed the extension of the £20 uplift in Universal Credit and added she fully supported the Chancellor’s proportionate measures to balance the country’s books with rises in corporation tax from 2023 but only for big business and the freezing of the tax thresholds following this April’s rise.
“There were tough choices for the Chancellor to make to help pay for the pandemic but I think he’s got the balance right. The freezing of the tax thresholds will not affect take home pay and he has kept to our manifesto commitments not to raise income tax, national insurance contributions and VAT,” she added.