Public support for tourism levy

More than half of residents in England think their council should have powers to introduce a local tourism levy, an LGA survey has revealed.

New public polling by Populus for the LGA found that 53 per cent of those surveyed think their council should be able to charge tourists a small fee to help fund local services that support tourism in their area.

Councils have faced an unprecedented decade of funding and demand pressures on their legal duties. They have had to halve direct funding for tourism and reduce spending on cultural services by 45 per cent in the past decade.

In its Budget submission, the LGA sets out how the Government can introduce measures to hand local areas more freedom and control over their own finances, and greater ability to grow their own economies.

It is calling on the Government to use its Tourism Sector Deal prospectus to invite local areas keen to become a tourist zone to make the case for piloting a local tourism levy.

LGA research found that a pound-per-night levy could raise up to £7 million a year, depending on the local area.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “Councils are best-placed to boost visitor economies and are trying to find innovative ways of supporting and boosting culture and heritage. Significant funding and demand pressures are hampering these efforts.

“The time has come for a national debate about what a tourism levy could look like, how it could be successfully introduced across the country, and how money raised could be reinvested locally to help councils create places where people want to live, work and visit.”

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