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Tourist tax proposal in Ivan Massow mayoral bid

A CONSERVATIVE candidate for London’s mayoralty has proposed a tourist tax, which he claims could bring almost half a billion pounds in public revenue.

In his bid to replace Boris Johnson in the 2016 elections, Ivan Massow has put forward the policy of charging tourists £1 per star per night in London hotels, believing the policy has potential to raise £400m per year.

London would not be the first city to charge its tourists for their visits, with five-star hotels in Rome costing €3 (£2.20) per night, €1.50 in Paris, and $2 (£1.30) added to hotel bills in New York.

According to Huffington Post, Massow does not want the tax to apply to UK residents: “Londoners and visitors from the rest of the UK will see no changes in the prices of their hotel stays. If however we’re forced to charge the 12.2 million people from the UK staying the 27.7 million nights they currently do, the additional revenue would be of £94.5m.”

Deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, Martin Couchman, has expressed concern over the proposal. As stated in City AM, he said: “Any additional tax on top of the existing 20% VAT, which is almost the highest in Europe, would directly discourage international tourists from visiting London.”

Other policies Massow has announced include cutting £185m off the cost of running the Oyster card, and introducing a London Card which Londoners could use in shops and to receive privileges such as a bank-side view of the New Year fireworks.

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