BY UK GOVERNMENT/SCOTTISH
On Tuesday 20 March the UK Rural Economy Task
Force announced measures to help rural businesses by encouraging
visitors to return as quickly as possible to the countryside and
by the imminent extension of countryside access to the public.
They also announced a package of measures to alleviate financial
hardship. Similar relief was announced by the Scottish Executive
on 28 March.
To help the tourism industry weather the foot
and mouth outbreak a range of fiscal measures would be helpful,
business rates relief for tourism
SMEs in the hardest hit areas; and
postpone the introduction of the
climate change levy on fuel (Westminster).
Once the foot and mouth outbreak is over, the
following initiatives will help kick-start the industry's recovery.
direct the Lottery Commission to
target funding toward projects that will help rural economies,
abolish Air Passenger Duty as a symbolic
gesture to the tourism industry, (Westminster);
extend the proposed VAT recovery
scheme for national museums and galleries to all museums and galleries,
introduce a lower rate of VAT on
accommodation to stimulate the British tourism industry in the
same way that the Irish tourism industry was boosted in the 1980s,
allow businesses to offset losses
against next year's tax liability and to re-introduce the ability
to offset maintenance costs against income for private historic
property owners, (Westminster); and
recognise inbound tourism as an export
industry and provide the same level of incentives as currently
apply to other export industries, (Westminster).