Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has told The Chancellor he should make the VAT reduction to 5% permanent for the UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors.

The cut from 20% has already been extended until the end of March by Rishi Sunak but is still only temporary.

Speaking in the Covid Support for Business debate in the House of Commons, Caroline said: “I have long believed that there was a compelling case for reducing VAT for the hospitality sector, and the pandemic-inspired cut helped to save the season between lockdowns.

“May I ask that my right honourable friend, when he is looking at his Budget, considers making the cut permanent, to power the recovery across the UK, including in my destination town of Eastbourne, where one in four jobs depends on tourism?

In reply the Chancellor said: “My honourable friend is rightly a champion for her local tourism and hospitality businesses, and she is not alone; across the country, hundreds of thousands of these businesses employ two million people.

“Those businesses are particularly vital in constituencies such as hers, which is why we reduced the rate of VAT – it runs all the way through to the end of March. She will know that we have an upcoming Budget, where we plan to review all our measures of support.”

Speaking afterwards Caroline added: “I will be making the case for this permanent 5% rate between now and the Budget at every opportunity and today was the opening shot.

“Eastbourne and Willingdon have benefited from this generous cut up until now and for the next two months but I do not believe the problems our hospitality and tourism sectors now have will disappear overnight and so this reduction needs to stay.”