Party Manifestos and Tourism 2015

A number of the political parties have issued their manifestos.  This page contains an extract of the main tourism points referenced in each, which has been compiled by the Tourism Alliance, together with the link to the full document for each party.  The Plaid Cymru  manifesto has yet to be included.  Those we have are presented in order of their receipt.

In addition we have also reproduced table show the Tourism Alliance’s assessment of the comparative tourism strengths and weaknesses of various policy area across all the manifestos.  This is a subjective assessment and whilst a useful general indicator, we would recommend that where you have particularly interest in a specific policy area highlighted in the table that you then look into that area within each manifesto or at least the summary text below, in order to make your own assessment:

2015 Election Tourism Policy Comparator


There is one specific reference to tourism:

We will keep our forests in public ownership, and promote access to green spaces in local planning. We will support the work of the Natural Capital Committee to protect and improve wildlife habitats and green spaces, and make them an important part of our thriving tourism industry.

However there are a range of other commitments that could impact on the tourism sector. These include:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to £8 by October 2019
  • Freezing rail fares
  • Making zero-hour contracts more difficult for employers to use by giving those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks a right to a regular contract
  • Recruit an additional 1,000 borders staff, paid for by a small charge on non-visa visitors to the UK.
  • Communities will be able to review betting shop licenses in their area and reduce the number of fixed-odds betting terminals in existing betting shops – or ban them entirely – in response to local concerns
  • Tightening the rules for student visas
  • Improving the uptake of physical activity
  • Taking targeted action on those high strength, low cost alcohol products
  • Introducing a tax on properties worth over £2 million
  • Continuing to support the construction of High Speed Two
  • Making a swift decision on expanding airport capacity in London and the South East, balancing the need for growth and the environmental impact.
  • Ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from affordable, high speed broadband by the end of the Parliament.
  • Establish a Small Business Administration, which will ensure procurement contracts are accessible and regulations are designed with small firms in mind.
  • Freezing business rates for over 1.5 million smaller business properties.
  • Creating a Prime Minister’s Committee on the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, with a membership drawn from all sectors and regions. The Committee will bring issues of concern direct to the attention of the Prime Minister.
  • Passing an English Devolution Act, handing £30 billion of resources and powers to our great English city and county regions
  • Creating a statutory register of lobbyists

Access the manifesto at: Labour Manifesto 2015


The Conservative manifesto specifically references and stated that they will support the sector:

We will continue to support tourism in our country.  Our tourism industry already supports three million jobs and is one of the nation’s leading employers and export earners. We will set challenging targets for Visit Britain and Visit England to ensure more visitors travel outside the capital. We will simplify and speed up visa issuance for tourists. And because tourism is an industry that depends more than most on young people, we will step up efforts to recruit more apprentices into the business

There is also reference to tour under sports

We will deliver the Rugby World Cup in 2015, the World Athletics Championship in 2017, IPC World Championships in

2017 and the Cricket World Cup in 2019, maximizing the opportunities for tourism and jobs.

And under support for the South West

We will invest to boost tourism in the South West

There are also many other policies that may impact on tourism – a large number of which were highlighted in the recent budget. They include:

  • We will invest a record £13 billion in transport for the North. We will electrify the main rail routes, build the Northern Hub, and provide new trains for the North.
  • In Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire East, we will pilot allowing local councils to retain 100 per cent of growth in business rates, so they reap the benefit of decisions that boost growth locally.
  • We will invest £38 billion in our railway network in the five years to 2019.
  • In addition to rolling out our national high-speed rail network, with High Speed 2 and High Speed 3, we will complete the construction of the new east-west Crossrail across Greater London, and push forward with plans for Crossrail 2.
  • We will invest £15 billion in roads
  • We will secure the delivery of super-fast broadband in urban and rural areas to provide coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by the end of 2017
  • We will conduct a major review into business rates by the end of 2015 to ensure that from 2017 they properly reflect the structure of our modern economy
  • We will cut a further £10 billion of red tape over the next Parliament through our Red Tape Challenge and our One-In Two-Out rule.
  • We will boost our support for first-time exporters and back the GREAT campaign
  • The National Minimum Wage should rise to £6.70 this autumn, on course for a Minimum Wage that will be over £8 by the end of the decade
  • We will keep our major national museums and galleries free to enter and enable our cultural institutions to benefit from greater financial autonomy to use their budgets as they see fit.
  • We will support a Great Exhibition in the North; back plans for a new theatre, The Factory, Manchester; and help the Manchester Museum, in partnership with the British Museum, to establish a new India Gallery. We are also supporting plans to develop a modern world class concert hall for London
  • We will ensure the protection and enjoyment of one our most ancient and precious heritage sites by building a tunnel where the A303 passes closest to Stonehenge.
  • We will continue to support essential roof repairs for our cathedrals and churches, along with other places of worship.
  • We will continue to invest in participation and physical activity, recognizing sport’s vital benefits to health
  • We plan a further £10 billion savings to the Government Budget by 2017-18 and £15- 20 billion in 2019-20
  • Our Coastal Communities Fund will help our seaside areas thrive, helping to boost skills and create jobs.
  • We will spend £3 billion from the Common Agricultural Policy to enhance England’s countryside over the next five years,
  • We will make it easier to access our beautiful landscapes, by providing free, comprehensive maps of all open-access green space.
  • We will protect the Green Belt, and maintain national protections for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and other environmental designations
  • We will give English MPs a veto over English-only matters
  • We will hold an in-out referendum on our membership of the EU before the end of 2017.

The full document can be accessed at: Conservative Manifesto 2015

Liberal  Democrats,

Like most of the other parties, the Liberal Democrats have a tourism section in their manifesto:

Tourism and heritage collectively make up as much as 9% of our economy, and yet these industries do not have the status they deserve in government or in wider society. We will work to make sure the British tourism industry is able to compete with other major world destinations and be a key generator of growth in the UK economy.

We will:

  • Strengthen the Hospitality and Tourism Council, with the Business and Culture Secretaries as co-chairs.
  • Give higher status to tourism within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
  • Build on our successful Tourism North and Tourism South West initiatives to devolve more power, resources and decision-making to local areas to promote their unique tourism propositions in the UK and globally

Other tourism-related policies in the manifesto include:

  • Continue the Regional Growth Fund throughout the next Parliament.
  • Provide further support to medium-sized businesses through a one-stop-shop for accessing government support.
  • Reform and improve the Regulatory Policy Committee to reduce regulatory uncertainty and remove unnecessary business regulation.
  • Complete the ongoing review of Business Rates, prioritizing reforms that lessen the burden on smaller businesses
  • Develop a comprehensive plan to electrify the overwhelming majority of the UK rail network, reopen smaller stations, restore twin-track lines to major routes and proceed with HS2, as the first stage of a high-speed rail network to Scotland.
  • Develop more modern, resilient links to and within the South West
  • We will carefully consider the conclusions of the Davies Review into runway capacity and develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK    ….. but ….
  • We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary.
  • Continue to allow high-skill immigration to support key sectors of the economy, and ensure work, tourist and family visit visas are processed quickly and efficiently.
  • Complete the rollout of high-speed broadband, to reach almost every household (99.9%) in the UK as well as small businesses in both rural and urban areas.
  • Maintain free access to national museums and galleries, while giving these institutions greater autonomy.
  • Ensure rail fares rise no faster than inflation over the Parliament as a whole
  • Grant new powers to Local Authorities to reduce the proliferation of betting shops and substantially reducing the maximum stakes for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.
  • We will complete the coastal path, introduce a fuller Right to Roam and a new designation of National Nature Parks to protect up to a million acres of accessible green space valued by local communities.
  • Designate an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas with appropriate management by 2020.
  • Support options for an intercity cycleway along the HS2 route, within the overall budget for the project.
  • Work with Local Authorities to integrate transport networks in rural areas,
  • Complete the restoration of full entry and exit checks at our borders,
  • Separate students within official immigration statistics, while taking tough action against any educational institution that allows abuse of the student route into the UK.
  • Establish a Government process to deliver greater devolution of financial responsibility to English Local Authorities,
  • Exempt small businesses from EU rules where possible and defending the UK opt-out to the Working Time Directive.

The full document can be accessed at: Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2015

Green Party

The big tourism-related item in this is a commitment to: Reduce the tax on conviviality and help small businesses in the tourism and restaurant businesses by lowering VAT to the reduced rate (5%) for cooked food, entertainment and accommodation.

However, at the same time they want to allow local authorities to levy new taxes, such as local tourist taxes and want to stop aviation expansion and introduce Fuel duty and VAT on tickets.

Other tourism-related policies are to:

  • Increase alcohol and tobacco duties by a successive £1.4bn every year in the Parliament to help fund the annual increases in NHS spending over the Parliament
  • Put a minimum price on alcohol of 50p per unit.
  • Make sure all children get at least a half-day equivalent of sports in school and encourage both the use of schools sports facilities by the community and participation in regional and national; sporting events by our young people
  • Ensure that all have digital access and give BT and other public telecoms operators an obligation to provide affordable high-speed broadband-capable infrastructure to every household and small business
  • Maintain the corporation tax for small firms at 20% while raising that for larger firms to 30%
  • Make the NMW a living wage for all, with a target of £10 per hour by 2020
  • Create jobs and help small business by reducing employers’ National Insurance
  • Repeal the National Planning Policy Framework and in particular its presumption in favour of development, and put planning back in the hands of local people and government, while requiring local authorities to map local ecological networks and work collaboratively to develop national spatial plans
  • Phase in a 35 hour week
  • End exploitative zero-hour contracts
  • Reintroduce the Fuel Duty Escalator
  • Make aviation subject to Fuel Duty and VAT to raise £16bn per annum
  • Reduce VAT on house renovation and repairs to 5%
  • Add higher bands of Council tax for large homes
  • End the major national roads programme
  • Reduce public transport fares by 10%
  • Stop aviation expansion with no new runways in the SE
  • Extend public transport in rural areas
  • Have no restrictions on Foreign students coming to the UK to study

The full document can be accessed at: Green party manifesto 2015

UK Independence Party

William Cash, the UKIP Heritage and Tourism Spokesperson gets his own section of the manifesto to discuss plans for the industry. These focus on three key elements:

  • Abolish DCMS and creating a dedicated Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism, attached to the Cabinet Office
  • Ensuring tax and planning policies support historic buildings and the countryside
  • Removing VAT completely from repairs to listed building
  • Introducing a ‘presumption in favour of conservation’ as opposed to the current ‘presumption in favour of development’ in planning legislation.
  1. THE GREAT BRITISH SEASIDE.  UKIP will bestowing ‘Seaside Town Status’ to areas in need of regeneration. This will give Local Authorities the power to:
  • Access low-interest government loans to buy up and renovate poor housing stock and convert empty commercial properties into residential accommodation
  • Issue Compulsory Purchase Order powers for poor quality multi-occupancy accommodation
  • Allow local authorities to introduce minimum standards for properties in receipt of housing benefit
  • Restructure local housing markets so they are not excessively driven by profits from housing benefit income
  • Refuse housing benefit payments to landlords in breach of planning legislation

We will boost the Coastal Communities Fund and expand its remit to:

  • End the ‘scattergun’ approach, which sees funding allocated according to income from a particular area rather than supporting nationwide regeneration
  • Prioritise larger-scale heritage, residential, retail and tourist regeneration over smaller scale projects
  • Encourage regenerative arts projects into our coastal
  • Offer tax breaks to smaller breweries to encourage micro-breweries
  • Keep the current excise duty scheme that exempts from duty cider and perry made by small domestic producers
  • Amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms provided they are properly ventilated and physically separated from non-smoking areas.
  • Oppose minimum pricing of alcohol and reverse plain paper packaging legislation for tobacco products.

As you would expect, there is also a considerable section on visas which has implications for tourism

Visitor visas and entry passes.  We value and want to encourage tourism, however there are inequalities in the current system, which treats some nationalities more favourably than others. The Migration Control Commission will be charged with finding a system which enables countries with which the UK already has close ties, such as member states of the European Union and the Commonwealth, to establish reciprocal arrangements for visitor visas and term-dated entry passes.

Student visas

The international student community makes an important contribution to the UK. Because students are in Britain only on a temporary basis, we will categorise them separately in immigration figures.  All non-UK undergraduate and post-graduate students will be required to maintain private health insurance for the period of their study.

We will also:

  • Review which educational institutions are eligible to enrol international students and prevent abuse of the student visa system. Students not attending courses will have their visas withdrawn and colleges not reporting absentees will be barred from accepting international students.

Other Tourism-Related policies include

  • we will not give tuition fee loans to EEA students when we leave the EU. They will of course be welcome to apply for places at UK universities as self-supporting international students.
  • Stop HS2
  • Address the lack of airport capacity in the South East by re-opening Manston Airport
  • Oppose any form of road pricing
  • Businesses hiring 50 people or more must give workers on zero-hours contracts either a full or part-time secure contract after one year, if the workers involved request it
  • Ban
  • exclusivity clauses
  • Workers on zero-hours contracts must be given at least twelve hours advance notice of work.
  • If a business has only one property and the rateable value is less than £50,000, the business will get 20 per cent rate relief
  • Repeal EU Regulations and Directives that stifle business growth.
  • Cut councils’ advertising and self-promotion budgets

The full document can be accessed at: UKIP Manifesto 2015

Scottish National Party

The highlight is that the SNP are very keen to support the tourism Industry in Scotland.  Following-up on earlier statements that they will look to gain power over Air Passenger Duty, they are also indicating that they will look to reduce tourism VAT.

  • For our tourism sector, we will press for the early devolution of Air Passenger Duty (APD) so we can use this new power to encourage more direct flights to Scotland, with a reduction of 50 per cent and longer term plans to abolish APD completely
  • We will also support examining a reduction in VAT for the hospitality sector, levelling the playing field with other EU nations and helping create as many as 10,000 new jobs

Other Tourism-Related policies include:

  • We will vote to increase the minimum wage to £8.70 by 2020
  • We will support an increase in the Employment Allowance from £2,000 per business per year to £6,000 per business per year
  • Connecting Scotland to HS2 as a priority, with construction beginning in Scotland as well as England, and a high speed connection between Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of England as part of any high-speed rail network
  • We will seek additional investment to support a more rapid roll out of superfast broadband and 4G across Scotland and to support wider and affordable access to the internet in our most disadvantaged communities, and for a Universal Service Obligation to be applied to telecoms and broadband providers ensuring everyone is able to access the communications they need.
  • We wish to see the reintroduction of the post-study work visa so students who have been educated in Scotland can spend 2 years working here after their studies and can contribute to growing our economy
  • We will examine proposals to maintain the Annual Investment Allowance at a stable rate and consider whether it can be maintained at £500,000 and whether it can be extended until the end of the next Parliament in 2020. T
  • For our creative industries, we will press for the BBC in Scotland to receive a fairer share of licence fee revenue generated in Scotland, which would bring a £100 million boost to Scotland’s creative sector.
  • Our commitment to ensure coastal communities benefit from the net income of the Crown Estate’s seabed leasing revenues (the Coastal Community Fund)
  • Taking forward Scotland’s £1.3 billion rural development programme
  • Pressing for a fair deal on fuel prices for rural areas
  • We will support efforts in the next parliament to end unfair and exploitative zero-hour contract
  • We remain committed to a Treasury review of alcohol taxation to better reflect alcohol content

The full document can be accessed at: SNP manifesto 2015


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