Butlin’s boss speaks of seaside communities’ ‘misery’

Butlin's MD Dermot King
Butlin's MD Dermot King

The managing director of Butlin’s has said the government is ‘failing’ coastal communities.

A statement attributed to Dermot King today said ‘the good weather and crowded beaches are disguising the fact that seaside communities are really struggling with high levels of unemployment, crime and substance abuse’.

Mr King, who is also chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign, said the government is failing to acknowledge that EU resort competitors have a huge advantage over British resorts with their low levels of VAT.

He said this results in British holidaymakers being penalised for choosing traditional English seaside resorts like Bognor Regis, Hastings, Minehead and Skegness.

Mr King said: “The UK is one of only three EU countries that do not provide a reduced rate of VAT for tourist attractions and accommodation. This discrepancy explains why destinations on the continent are frequently viewed as providing greater value for money than UK destinations.”

He added: “Government figures and civil servants appear to be oblivious of the misery in many of these resorts especially when the sun and holidaymakers disappear.

“The future of Britain’s seaside resorts depends on being able to compete fairly.

“The government is failing to fix the creaking roofs of Britain’s coastal communities whilst the sun shines.

“I would encourage MPs of all political backgrounds to spend some of their summer holidays in some of the UK’s seaside towns, so they can see some of the challenges we face.”

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