Judith Cochrane MLA said: “I believe the Executive must press harder in their representations to the UK Treasury to demonstrate the positive impact of a reduction in VAT for the tourism sector. They should commission a report on the projected benefits.
“Many from the sector have been calling for this change to happen because of the obvious successes that we have seen in the adoption of similar measures in the Republic of Ireland where 6,000 jobs have been created. As it stands, Northern Ireland is at a huge disadvantage because our rate remains high in comparison to across the border. There is a growing trend for a reduction in VAT rates for the tourism sector with 13 member states of the EU making such a decision.
“According to Pubs of Ulster, a cut in the VAT rate could result in the creation of around 3,300 jobs for the tourism sector in Northern Ireland.
“When the campaign for a reduction in Corporation Tax was first mooted, there was a definite ‘no’ from the Treasury, but look at where we are now with the legislation passed at Westminster. We must mount a similar fight on the issue of tourism VAT and support our industry here.”