Influential campaign group the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has backed calls for VAT to be cut to 5% for the tourism sector. The group made the plea as it revealed a decline in business confidence across tourist firms alongside other industries. It adds weight to the industry campaign for VAT to be slashed to 5% to help the hospitality and leisure sector. The FSB’s Voice of Small Business Index, which represents confidence among small UK firms, fell by 6.4 points to +0.3, down from +6.7 in the first quarter of the year. The higher the positive score, the more confident businesses are. Confidence fell in 13 of the 18 sectors surveyed, with the tourism sector (including hotels, restaurants, bars and catering) seeing confidence fall to -4 points from +13. To improve confidence and growth, the FSB wants VAT to be just 5% for the tourism industry and also the construction sector. John Walker, FSB national chairman, said: “The economy is still in a fragile state and these figures clearly show that the government’s growth strategy is just not working. “In an economy characterised by high unemployment and muted demand, more needs to be done to encourage businesses to take on staff and grow their business so that the recovery can really get back on track.”