Parliament has now been dissolved until the General Election. Therefore there are currently no Members of Parliament.
Incoming emails to John.Nicolson.MP@parliament.uk may be received and read, however this email address is only being used to respond to urgent constituency casework.
John Nicolson can be contacted at:  johnforaandg24@gmail.com

John Nicolson MP on VAT reduction at The House of Commons

Published:

Categories: News

Meeting with local business and hearing their concerns is a key part of an MPs work. And businesses from across the hospitality sector have been crying out for governmental assistance in these difficult times. John nicolson today joined with colleague Alyn Smith, SNP MP for Stirling, in calling for a 5% reduction in VAT in hospitality.

John brought the words of hospitality entrepreneurs in his constituency into Parliament in his speech.

“We were joined by an award winning ice creamer Stephen Sloper of Penny Licks inTillicoultry, the Unorthodox coffee roasters themselves, Alex from Glenturret distillery, my friends from Cafe Rhubarb in Dollar.”

“Like many of my colleagues I spend a lot of time visiting local businesses. Indeed I was delighted recently to host First Minister Humza Yousef at the excellent Unorthodox Coffee Roasters in Kinross where I chaired a roundtable discussion with business owners in the hospitality trade from across Ochil and South Perthshire.”

“Everyone – from the owners of a wee Syrian café in Alloa Syriana- men who arrived as asylum seekers and are now embedded in their community – to Scotland’s oldest distillery kept telling us variations of the same story.”

“Craig, the owner of the Royal Oak in Alloa said, “When the previous VAT reduction happened, it was amazing. It made such a difference.”

Greg McMullan, co-owner of The Royal Oak.

“The hospitality sector needs help now. Westminster has the levers to control VAT. The UK Government refuses to take measures to limit energy prices, so let the government instead give the businesses in our communities a break by lowering VAT by 5%.”

Watch John speak to The House here;

Read John’s full speech here;

“Like many of my colleagues I spend a lot of time visiting local businesses. Indeed I was delighted recently to host First Minister Humza Yousef at the excellent Unorthodox Coffee Roasters in Kinross where I chaired a roundtable discussion with business owners in the hospitality trade from across Ochil and South Perthshire.

It was a listening exercise for the First Minister, so that regional entrepreneurs could update him on their successes and their struggles.

We were joined by an award winning ice creamer Stephen Sloper of Penny Licks inTillicoultry, the Unorthodox coffee roasters themselves, Alex from Glenturret distillery, my friends from Cafe Rhubarb in Dollar.

Everyone – from the owners of a wee Syrian café in Alloa Syriana- men who arrived as asylum seekers and are now embedded in their community – to Scotland’s oldest distillery kept telling us variations of the same story.

Times are beyond tough. Costs are so high that they’re unsustainable long term.

One said “the big issue which is strangling us is gas and electricity costs.” And this is a common refrain.

The Westminster Government and the Prime Minister have set out their solution: drill for more oil and gas in the North Sea. Remember – that was the oil and gas they told us was worthless and about to run out ten years ago during the independence referendum….

But of course due to chaotic mismanagement by successive Labour & Tory Governments North Sea energy is sold back to us at world market prices. It will not make energy cheaper. Clean renewables are the future.

And to the glaikit Tory MSP who demanded to know what we’d do when renewables run out….. the key is in the name.

The hospitality sector needs help now. Westminster has the levers to control VAT. The UK Government refuses to take measures to limit energy prices, so let the government instead give the businesses in our communities a break by lowering VAT by 5%.

We’ve been talking to business in Alloa this past week to get a sense of the difference this would make. Alison Turner in the Ladybird Tearoom said that this reduction would be “an enormous help and would certainly be noticed by us.”

Craig, the owner of the Royal Oak in Alloa said, “When the previous VAT reduction happened, it was amazing. It made such a difference.”

But the owners we spoke to had little faith that Westminster would act to help.

In his latest toe curling Party Political Broadcast I notice Rishi Sunak had stopped attacking asylum seekers for a moment in order to pose in front of a massive sign reading ‘TAX CUTS’.

Oh good, you might think. A chance to relieve the burden on those hardest pressed in these difficult times.

No. Of course not. He wants to cut taxes for wealthy mates so their families can benefit from Inheritance Tax Cuts,

But the one subject everyone in the hospitality sector wants to talk about is Brexit and what a disaster it’s been. The Gleneagles Hotel can’t get enough staff post Brexit and so can’t operate at full capacity. Harvesters can’t get enough people to pick fruit and others crops. I’ve got a cheese manufacturer who fears they’ll have to lay off staff because one of their ingredient suppliers in France doesn’t want to do the post Brexit paperwork. It’s not cost effective.

The Glenturret Distillery has stopped exporting to several European Union countries because the post-Brexit labelling rules are too cumbersome and expensive. They tell me it sometimes now takes longer to get whisky to Paris than Japan.

The Tories’ Brexit dividend.

And what of Labour? Well it’s now up to its oxters in Brexit cool-aid too. The Labour leader tells us “there is no case for rejoining the EU.”

Try telling that to businesses in my constituency.

I’m glad that this debate was brought forward by my SNP colleague. I am glad that Humza Yousef spent so much time with the entrepreneurs in my constituency. I thank the Alloa and other constituency businesses for giving me their thoughts so I can bring them here to the Westminster parliament.

Though I doubt my pro-Brexit, Labour and Tory colleagues – trembling before the power of Mr Murdoch and his press baron chums – are much in the mood to listen.”