London mayor pushes for new tourism tax

Objections are growing to a hotel bed tax or so-called tourism tax currently being mooted in various cities in the UK.

The London Assembly Economic Committee discussed the issue last month, and other cities are threatened by the proposed tax including Bath, Edinburgh and Hull, where the council has announced a consultation.

Currently in England individual local authorities do not have the power to raise such a tax so it would need to be carried out at a national level, but the Mayor of London has proclaimed his support for the tax and is calling for local authorities to be given the power to raise it, which would add to the price of guest room.

A bed tax, however small, will discourage guests from staying overnight and reduce the amount they spend in the wider London economy, impacting shops and restaurants as well as hotels, according to the British Hospitality Association.

According to the BHA, the London tourism tax will unfairly penalise hard-pressed Britons, who make up the overwhelming proportion of visitors to London. Sadiq Khan has proclaimed “London is Open”, yet is backing a tax on anyone coming for a weekend break in the capital, professionals going about their business and holidaymakers with their families. “It’s a tax on fun and business. This isn’t just about top end hotels, it’s about hard-working people on budget breaks too. This levy threatens our industry, which is the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, employing over half a million people in London, and generating an estimated £57bn to the UK’s GDP.”