by Jeremy Reed
As the new chief executive of BALPPA, I am greatly looking forward to representing the interests of the UK private sector visitor attractions industry and to further pursue the association’s lobbying goals.
Our diverse range of objectives all have our industry at heart and seek to ensure that the Government takes tourism seriously.
In the coming months we hope to see the next stage of the Daylight Saving Bill as it is put through to committee stage. BALPPA has been instrumental in ensuring that this issue – providing an extra hour of daylight in summer by putting our clocks forward one hour (in line with other European countries) – was considered and has worked closely with Rebecca Harris MP on the preparation of her Private Members Bill. We are looking forward to submitting additional evidence to the committee in due course and hopefully welcoming a change that will benefit members significantly by extending the shoulder season and increasing tourism revenue.
Reducing VAT on admission income for attractions in the UK will greatly benefit BALPPA members and level the playing field with our European competition. Two of our members, Bourne Leisure and Merlin Entertainments, have commissioned an updated study on the positive impact that this move would have on the attractions industry. Currently this study is being considered by the Treasury and we look forward to the response in the hope that the campaign will gain momentum as the study is distributed to politicians and interested parties.
Many of our members will be greatly affected by the proposals to introduce Machine Games Duty (MGD) to replace Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD) and VAT. This move will be especially damaging to vulnerable seaside family businesses as the tax will be applicable to pushers and cranes and will force mixed use businesses such as FECs and piers to become partially exempt from VAT. The additional administrative burden on small businesses and the disincentive to invest in new coin-op machines will undoubtedly penalise already struggling businesses. BALPPA has engaged Price Waterhouse Coopers to conduct a study on the impact of MGD and has submitted this with our consultation response to the Government. BALPPA members can greatly aid the effectiveness of the Associations lobby by engaging with their local member or parliament and responding to any media enquiries relating to the issue.
As the traditional summer season comes to a close, BALPPA is turning attention to engaging with members in two industry trade shows, both of which are organised by the industry for the industry. The European Attractions Show (EAS) is coming to London for the first time this month and BALPPA will have a space for members to touch base. Many of our trade associate members will be exhibiting and we look forward to a showcase of new products and a great seminar programme with contributions from our membership. In January, as well as looking forward to celebrating our 75th anniversary with a special dinner, we will be supporting the EAG Expo, now in its third year at ExCel in London.
I look forward to meeting many of our members and learning about their businesses in the coming weeks and months at their own sites, the events listed above and at our Regional Meeting in the West Midlands in October.
BALPPA is the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions.