NESS in Sport & Leisure, whose 70 members span the gaming to tourism industries, has urged the government to help unlock 440,000 potential jobs in the sector by cutting VAT and introducing initiatives to kick-start growth.
In a report published yesterday outlining the impact of leisure on the economy, BISL revealed that the industry provides 2.6m jobs, representing nine per cent of the workforce.
The sector also employs more than one in five 16-25 year olds – more than the manufacturing, construction and financial services sectors combined – while low-skilled and part time workers also benefit heavily.
But the industry says the government has slapped it with extra taxes and regulations costing £3.2bn since 2010 – a figure estimated to rise to £3.9bn by 2014. The BISL calls on the government “to take its foot off the brakes” and cut the 20 per cent VAT rate on hotels and attractions to five per cent.
“With the right government support we believe the industry could create a further 440,000 jobs by 2020,” Simon Johnson, chief executive of BISL said.