We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Amendment 4

Part of Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] - Committee – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 9th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 5:15 pm, 9th July 2019

I understand now. The 25% comes from Birmingham City Council and its partners; it also involves revenue raising in various ways so none of it is certain. However, my point remains that the city council is looking at different ways to do that and I will come on to that in a moment.

This is not a completely uncontroversial proposal. I do not want to go into the detailed arguments about the hotel levy today, but it is not quite as straightforward as some people may think. Tourism in this country pays a much higher rate of VAT than our competitors in Europe. In May, a report on tourism tariffs by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality expressed reservations about the likelihood of tourism levies having a long-term, positive benefit on tourism infrastructure. The report concluded that:

“Further studies need to be commissioned on the economic impact and viability of a tourist tax”.

The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, suggested that this should be a pilot, which goes some way to answering that although it would be limited in scope. The noble Lord also mentioned the Scottish Government, who will consult this year on the principles of a locally determined tourist tax, prior to introducing legislation which would allow local authorities to apply such a tax. We will certainly be looking at the benefits of that.

I have to say that matters of taxation are for the Treasury to consider. Treasury Ministers have been in correspondence with Birmingham City Council regarding its options for meeting its required contribution to the Games. That is the right place for those discussions, not this Bill, which provides the framework for the successful operational delivery of the Games. The Government are aware that the city council is actively considering a number of options for local revenue raising, including within existing powers, and stand ready to look at the details of any proposals that the city council wishes to put forward.

I hope that is not cold water, though it may be lukewarm. I hope that noble Lords are reassured that the Government remain committed to working with the city council on its plans for delivering its required financial contribution to the Games. I would therefore be grateful if the noble Lord felt able to withdraw his amendment.