Hotel sector lobbies against bed tax plan

A proposed bed tax to increase local government funding could lead to a decline in residential conferences if it becomes law, according to a group of hoteliers from Leeds. Gordon Jackson, chairman of local alliance Hotels in Leeds, said the 10% levy that had been mooted would have dire consequences. “Corporates remain price sensitive and an extra 10% on the cost of overnight conferences would affect all accommodation businesses. Companies could opt for day meetings with a knock-on loss to local restaurants and pubs too.” Hotels in Leeds represents 24 properties in the city. Jackson said the tax could mean more conferences heading overseas. Sir Michael Lyons, who is chairing the inquiry, is considering a number of proposals for the bed tax and will announce its recommendations in December. Robert Barnard, partner at accountant PKF, which runs a monthly monitor of UK hotels, said: “It’s not a disaster but it will affect decision making. Any opportunity to mitigate cost will be taken.” Tourism Alliance, which represents 45 trade associations including the BHA and Visit London, is lobbying against the tax claiming it would cost £1.3bn and the loss of 32,000 jobs.

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