UKHospitality (UKH) has responded to the Chancellor\u2019s 2018 Spring Statement calling it a \u201cmissed opportunity\u201d to deliver a meaningful tax reform for the industry.\r\n\r\nThe newly formed trade organisation\u2019s chief Kate Nicholl said a focus on taxing digital businesses is welcome but it needs to also tackle inequalities in business rates between digital companies and high street operators. \u201cIf that is not addressed,\u201d she said, \u201cthen businesses will continue to struggle against crippling rates bills, and jobs and investment will be at risk. UKHospitality will continue to push the government to deliver on their promise of root and branch reform.\u201d\r\n\r\nNicholls added: \u201cChange must come via positive voluntary action, rather than punitive legislation that penalises and burdens businesses without solving the problem. A consultation will give us an opportunity to ensure that the government understands this and works with us.\r\n\r\n\u201cConsulting on possible VAT reduction in Northern Ireland is a welcome first step in addressing the significant barrier to growth posed by tourism VAT. We will engage closely and continue to push for a UK-wide reduction in VAT for tourism and hospitality businesses.\u201d\r\n\r\nPrior to the the Spring Statement, a group of hospitality industry and consumer bodies, including UKHospitality, wrote a joint letter urging the government to undertake a comprehensive review of business rates and undertake a consultation on a possible reduced rate of VAT for hospitality.