Councils want Airbnb and hotels to charge guests an extra £5 a night

Tourist tax: Councils want Airbnb and hotels to charge their guests an extra £5 a night to put toward local services

  • Rishi Sunak is under pressure to find ways of raising cash in next month’s Budget
  • The Local Government Association claims a majority of the public back the idea
  • Move to enforce hotel tax likely to meet fierce resistance from tourist industry 

Guests in hotels, bed and breakfasts and Airbnb should pay a tourist tax of up to £5 a night, local councils have said.

The ‘tourist levy’ would generate money to boost visitor attractions. 

But it would be paid by everyone staying in a hotel, guest house or rental including business travellers and British residents.

The plans were sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) by the Local Government Association, the umbrella body for councils, which claims a majority of the public back the idea

The plans were sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak by the Local Government Association, the umbrella body for councils, which claims a majority of the public back the idea. 

Mr Sunak is under pressure to find ways of raising cash in next month’s Budget but ideas including cuts to pension tax relief or a mansion tax have been poorly received by Tory MPs.

A hotel tax would come on top of a 4 per cent council tax rise – the largest allowed without a local referendum – likely to be imposed from April in almost every area. 

It would add £70 to this year’s average bill in England of £1,750.

A £2 a night levy in Edinburgh is waiting for approval from the Scottish Government. 

In London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for powers for a similar tax.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson of the LGA said yesterday: ‘Giving councils the ability to introduce a local tourism levy means they could reinvest some of the tax income generated by this tourism into services that are attracting visitors.’ 

The LGA suggested a £1-a-night hotel tax could raise up to £7million a year for a council, depending on its hotel industry. 

The organisation has also been looking at European cities that charge much more, such as Amsterdam which has a 7 per cent tourist tax on hotel rooms. In Venice (stock image), guests in the most expensive hotels pay a five euro levy

The organisation has also been looking at European cities that charge much more, such as Amsterdam which has a 7 per cent tourist tax on hotel rooms. 

In Venice, guests in the most expensive hotels pay a five euro levy.

The document says town hall spending on tourism has halved over the past decade. 

But any move to bring in a hotel tax is likely to meet fierce resistance from the tourist industry. 

Hotels already protest they have to meet costs in business taxes and safety regulations that don’t apply to those letting homes on Airbnb. 

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