The British Hospitality Industry (BHA) has called on the government to lower VAT for businesses in the sector, which now find themselves at a distinct disadvantage to their European rivals. With hoteliers and restaurants in the UK now having to shoulder a VAT rate of 20% compared with just 5.5% in France, the BHA has warned that this will significantly reduce the sector’s ability to create jobs and aid the recovery. Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “In our report which we published in October – Creating Jobs in Britain – A Hospitality Economy Proposition - we said that hospitality could create 236,000 jobs by 2015 providing the right supportive framework was in place. “It’s critically important that government realises that this cannot be achieved alone. We need a positive partnership with government that recognises that policy and regulations can make or break this objective. Past governments have just not recognised the industry’s job-creating potential.” Ibrahim also called for a cross-cabinet committee for hospitality and tourism to coordinate policy across Whitehall and reduce needless red tape and the burden of excessive regulation.