ALVA repeats General Election asks of all political parties

22 May 2024:
Key facts:

• Tourism represents 4% of the UK’s GVA.
• It is worth £106bn to the economy.
• It employs 1.7m jobs direct. 2.6m direct and indirect.
• It is the 5th biggest industry; around 250,000 businesses.
• 80% of tourism businesses employ fewer than 10 people.
• Tourism is the 3rd largest service export sector.
• Culture, the arts and heritage are the primary reasons leisure visitors come to the UK; they are our global soft power.
• ALVA’s members, and cultural, heritage organisations and places of nature and beauty are a ‘parallel NHS” where people go to repair, breathe, relax and heal.

Our asks of UK political parties in 2024:

• Reduce VAT on tourism and hospitality to make the UK internationally competitive
• Reintroduce tax-free shopping for overseas visitors
• Review Business rates
• Keep tax relief for theatres, orchestras and exhibitions (achieved in the March Budget)
• Remove VAT on heritage repairs for buildings open to the public
• Ensure culture, live performance, arts, heritage and nature are experienced by every child and young person and are within the national curriculum
• Increase the funding to Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales and Arts Council of Northern Ireland to particularly invest in capital and revenue funding
• Support local authorities in their care of, and access to civic collections and culture
• Support the ‘Save our Wild Isles’ environmental agenda
• Make it easier and less bureaucratic for vital foreign workers to work in our sector
• Make it easier and less bureaucratic for UK artists to work and tour overseas, especially in the EU
• Ensure that the Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme does not detrimentally affect the visitor economy of Northern Ireland

Our three main policy aims are:

to repair, strengthen and sustain the visitor economy and to make the UK more internationally competitive and attractive

to protect and strengthen the arts, culture and heritage sectors, making them, their collections and work as accessible as possible

to ensure that nature and the environment are protected and healthy, support biodiversity, and reduce our impact on the climate

and in pursuing all of these things ensure that those who work in our sector, in whatever role, paid or volunteer, are respected for who they are, adequately rewarded, supported with training, and valued for their role in creating the backdrops for people's happiest memories.

ALVA is non-partisan but is not neutral. We are a private company and not a charity and so we are not bound by Charity Commission guidelines or rules on lobbying. Other the next weeks and months we will continue to advocate for the heath and sustainability of our sector, on the asks detailed above, and will work co-operatively and positively with the new Government, of whatever political complexion.

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