Each month we run a ‘Focus On’ to highlight the good work of small businesses in a particular industry. This month we’re focusing on the Leisure industry and we couldn’t have timed it better. Last week the NEC hosted Leisure Industry Week; a coming together of the who’s who from all walks of the industry.
But let’s go back a few years to understand how the industry has developed. In 2010 Leisure leaders urged the Government to back Britain’s £115bn tourist industry with tax breaks and fresh investment in the recognition of the role it can play to kick-starting the economy. The question is – has it happened and has it paid off?
Despite only three years on (when original research showed that benefits would take a decade), the small business community has seen the benefit of funds such as the £40m ‘Visit Britain’ which attract tourists to the UK for events like the Olympics.
Even after the dust has settled on the Olympics, I think it’s safe to say that the leisure industry in the UK has benefitted from the investment it duly deserved, although we may not see the full benefits for a long time to come. If nothing else the Olympics gave the nation a sense of pride and restored faith and confidence in Britain’s business future.
The real argument is; would the industry benefit further from tax breaks like most other European countries. If a level playing field was introduced it would most likely create jobs and attract even more business for Leisure and tourism in the UK. We don’t like tax exemptions, but surely, to go to that next level and compete with our European counterparts we should be comparable on tax.
In an industry where international tourists spend £16bn, with tourism Britain’s third biggest earner of foreign exchange – should we be asking if we can do more?
Would you give the leisure industry a tax break?