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A ‘tourist tax’ in Wembley could be key to relieving pressures on services

PUBLISHED: 12:01 22 January 2019

Wembley Park (Picture: Google)

Wembley Park (Picture: Google)

Archant

A “tourist tax” could be the key to tackling extra pressures that come with major events in Wembley.

Brent Council’s resources and public realm scrutiny committee suggested at a meeting on Tuesday that visitors to Brent should be charged a small fee on top of their accommodation costs.

It says the practice is common in the US and some European countries and said it could offset the strain put on services such as street cleaning and licensing.

In a report scrutinising the council’s draft budget for 2019/20, it urged the council to bring the subject “back to the top of the local government agenda”.

The report said: “If Brent had the power to set something similar this would be fair, as it would ensure we have the funds to cope with the large numbers of people who visit us every year.

“It would also be proportionate as it could be set at the level of just a few pounds – something that would surely not discourage tourists from attending the kinds of world class events that take place in our borough.”

Setting a tourist tax is not permitted under UK law, and there could be concerns that implementing one, however small, could deter those from staying in the borough.

Patricia Yates, director of Visit Britain, said: “Tourism is a fiercely competitive global industry, people have a lot of choice and our research shows that Britain is already seen as an expensive destination.

“We also want to promote a message of welcome, remove barriers to travel and make it easier for domestic and international visitors to explore more, travel further and stay longer, boosting the economy.”

The committee noted the positive impact tourists have on the local economy and pointed out how the borough is fortunate to benefit from both Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena.

But it believes the council could do more on this issue in terms of lobbying central government to ensure that it receives compensation for the regular influx of visitors.

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