Industry heavyweights back Say No To Bed Tax campaign

20 April 2006
Industry heavyweights back Say No To Bed Tax campaign

A host of top UK hoteliers have this week pledged their support for Caterer‘s campaign to Say No To Bed Tax.

So far high-profile backers include Robert Cook, chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, Christopher Scragg, chairman and managing director of Marston Hotels, and Norman Springford, chairman of Apex Hotels.

This is in addition to the British Hospitality Association, the Tourism Alliance, budget hotel chain Travelodge and more than 100 readers who have already signed our petition.

"I'm one thousand percent behind this campaign - we should be giving more hospitality to guests, not charging them more," Cook said.

Caterer‘s Say No To Bed Tax campaign opposes proposals submitted to Sir Michael Lyons to slap a 5% to 10% tax on hotel bedrooms. Lyons is considering the tax in his review of local government funding.

A bed tax would not only hit hotels, but would also hurt local pubs, restaurants, B&Bs and visitor attractions which rely on visitors staying overnight in the local area.

That's why we want all hospitality businesses to back this campaign. Say No to Bed Tax by signing the petition opposite and returning it FREEPOST or online.

What does the industry think of Sir Michael Lyons's proposals for a bed tax?
Amanda Scott, general manager, the Waldorf Hilton"I absolutely support Caterer‘s campaign. Tourism in this country is expensive enough as it is without charging guests even more."

Christopher Scragg, chairman and managing director, Marston Hotels

"This campaign deserves wholehearted support before the tax gets a hold. Bed tax would be a retrograde step for the whole country - the hotel business is a big sector and anything that affects it will affect the whole economy. This is just another example of one of the Government's back-door taxes." Robert Cook, chief executive, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin "I'm one thousand percent behind the campaign. Hotel bedrooms are getting to their optimum price level and I'm a great believer in value for the customer. We are already under so much pressure with increasing utility prices, that adding another tax would mean customers have to pay the price." David Morgan-Hewitt, managing director, Goring Hotel "It is extraordinary and absolutely beggars belief that the Government wants to impose more taxes on an industry that is already more taxed than its counterparts in other countries. We are one hell of an employer and take on people from all walks of life. If this tax comes in then it is going to cost jobs. It is important to get behind this campaign 100%." Norman Springford, chairman, Apex Hotels "It is particularly unfair to single out hotels for extra tax. I'm happy to support the campaign as I feel it is unfair to discriminate selectively against hotels." Peter Gray, chief executive, Swallow Hotels "I'm in total support of *Caterer*‘s campaign. The bed tax is another example of a stealth tax that, in this case, hurts not only us as hoteliers but also all those who want to spend time in hotels. This is the antithesis of what we should be doing, which is encouraging more people to stay in UK hotels." Francis Young, the Master Innholders "A bed tax would dramatically reduce our competitiveness with other countries. We are already overburdened with tax in all forms in this country and as one of the most potentially successful industries in the country, hospitality should be free from red tape and burdensome taxes if it wants to achieve its potential." Debrah Dhugga, managing director, Toms Companies "Businesses in the UK already have to compete with other countries and it would be disastrous for our tourism industry if a bed tax was introduced. For top-end hotels it is real trouble, as with so many low-cost flights now available, tourists that would normally travel within the UK, could soon find it cheaper to go to Europe. Tax in this industry is already high enough and it really would be a disaster if we went down this route." John Stauss, regional vice-president and general manager, Four Seasons Hotel, London "We are all well aware that our very high VAT, combined with the current rate of foreign exchange (especially with the US dollar), makes the UK an expensive option when compared with other destinations. To add a bed tax would affect the whole market - including corporate travel and more importantly leisure travel. It would put us all at risk of creating a tourist recession for the UK." Jonathan Slater, managing director, Chester Grosvenor "Anything that discourages visitors or puts us in a negative position with regard to competing globally is bad. This is also going to have an effect on the UK tourism industry so it's a double whammy. Those of us in the corporate market place are already under pressure, with continual hikes in payroll, utilities and so on. A bed tax would make this situation even worse." Complied by Alix Young *By Jessica Gunn*
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