London tourists could be charged £1-a-night hotel tax

Tourists staying in central London could face a £1-a-night 'bed tax' as part of Camden Council's proposal to bring in more funding.

London tourists could be charged £1-a-night hotel tax
London tourists could be charged £1-a-night hotel tax

The council is hoping to raise £5m a year from the levy to spend on extra street cleaning in popular tourist areas such as Camden Lock and the market square.

Theo Blackwell, Camden’s cabinet member for finance, told The Guardian: "We face £70m of government cuts over the next three years. The money would be used to keep our streets clean and maintain and improve the public realm. Currently these budgets face a 20% cut."

European cities including Paris, Berlin and Barcelona already levy a similar charge on tourists.

At present, local authorities in the UK do not have the power to tax hotel stays. Camden Council is expected to join with other councils and launch a campaign in the next few weeks calling for more local spending powers.

Other UK councils including Bristol, York and Edinburgh have sought to introduce a tourist tax in the past without success.

The idea has been criticised by hoteliers, who said it would put off tourists and impose a further burden on hotel operator.

Martin Couchman, deputy CEO of the British Hospitality Association, also told The Guardian: "Any additional tax on top of the existing 20% VAT, which is almost the highest in Europe, would directly discourage international tourists from visiting London.

"A tourist tax could also be costly to collect and almost impossible to collect from the flats and houses let illegally through online companies like Airbnb."

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