‘A huge boost for tourism’.

That is how Welcome to Yorkshire has described the Government’s decision to cut VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for the hospitality and tourism sector.

The reduced value added tax rate will be in operation from July 15, 2020 to January 12, 2021 and apply to accommodation and admission to attractions as well as food and non-alcoholic drinks at restaurants, pubs, cafes and other venues.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s Chief Executive, James Mason, believes it will make a big difference. He said: “The Chancellor’s announcement to cut VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent will be a huge welcome boost for thousands of organisations within Yorkshire’s tourism industry.

“It’s been a tough year for many businesses and hopefully this will be an incentive to encourage spending across the sector with people being able to take advantage of reduced prices on food, drink, accommodation and admission to the county’s amazing attractions.

“The additional news to introduce an Eat Out to Help Out discount, with meals purchased at any participating business from Monday to Wednesday throughout August with 50 per cent off, will also encourage dining out at a time of the week that is traditionally quieter - allowing businesses to implement successful social distancing, yet spreading out welcoming customers over a number of days.

“The tourism industry is worth £9 billion to the Yorkshire economy and employs almost 225,000 people, and hopefully increased consumer spending will help secure the future jobs of many working within tourism businesses.

“We hope that the next few weeks and months will see visitors safely enjoying all the wonderful things Yorkshire has to offer.”

Ilkley’s MP Robbie Moore (Con, Keighley), meanwhile says that up to 470 businesses in his constituency stand to benefit. He said: “I hope that everyone in Keighley and Ilkley will answer the call to Eat Out to Help Out. This fantastic new voucher scheme, along with the cut in VAT, is the much-needed lifeline many businesses have been calling for.”