West Country against Caravan tax

May 16, 2012 11:42 AM

MPs in the South-West have joined the growing wave of anger against the government’s proposed tax on static caravans. Cornish MPs Dan Rogerson and Andrew George have both signed a parliamentary petition against the VAT hike, seeing it as a tax on holiday park caravans—a key part of the West Country’s tourist industry.

So far, the cross-party petition has been signed by 49 MPs, many of them coming from the north of England where the tax increase will effect the manufacturing of caravans, but now MPs see a direct impact on tourism too. ‘It’s clear that the industry is very concerned about the impact this change will have on jobs,’ says Rogerson, North Cornwall’s MP.

West Country holiday park owners claim that the application of VAT will add thousands of pounds to the cost of staying in caravans, leading to a drop in sales, vacant pitches and less tourism. The protesting MPs estimate that caravan owners contribute up to £334 million to the local economy in rural and coastal areas.

‘Static holiday caravan sites are an ideal solution to managing the demand for a permanent location for those regular visitors who wish to have a stake in our area without denying a local family a home,’ argues Andrew George, St Ives’s MP. ‘The last Conservative Government introduced a very significant tax rebate for second home owners which had the opposite effect—a 50 per cent council tax reduction which cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds and which helped better-off people with their second homes when there were thousands of local families who couldn’t afford their first. The Government should be doing the opposite to what it is proposing to do with static holiday caravans.’

The period of consultation on these tax change and others, including the Pasty tax, ends on Friday. High street baker Greggs is still battling against this ‘unworkable’ VAT rise, saying it will have a disproportionate impact on the specialist bakery sector, ‘resulting in further unemployment, high street closures and reduced investment’. Let’s hope the government sees sense and listens to the protests against these tax rises.MPs in the South-West have joined the growing wave of anger against the government’s proposed tax on static caravans. Cornish MPs Dan Rogerson and Andrew George have both signed a parliamentary petition against the VAT hike, seeing it as a tax on holiday park caravans—a key part of the West Country’s tourist industry.

So far, the cross-party petition has been signed by 49 MPs, many of them coming from the north of England where the tax increase will effect the manufacturing of caravans, but now MPs see a direct impact on tourism too. ‘It’s clear that the industry is very concerned about the impact this change will have on jobs,’ says Rogerson, North Cornwall’s MP.

West Country holiday park owners claim that the application of VAT will add thousands of pounds to the cost of staying in caravans, leading to a drop in sales, vacant pitches and less tourism. The protesting MPs estimate that caravan owners contribute up to £334 million to the local economy in rural and coastal areas.

‘Static holiday caravan sites are an ideal solution to managing the demand for a permanent location for those regular visitors who wish to have a stake in our area without denying a local family a home,’ argues Andrew George, St Ives’s MP. ‘The last Conservative Government introduced a very significant tax rebate for second home owners which had the opposite effect—a 50 per cent council tax reduction which cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds and which helped better-off people with their second homes when there were thousands of local families who couldn’t afford their first. The Government should be doing the opposite to what it is proposing to do with static holiday caravans.’

The period of consultation on these tax change and others, including the Pasty tax, ends on Friday. High street baker Greggs is still battling against this ‘unworkable’ VAT rise, saying it will have a disproportionate impact on the specialist bakery sector, ‘resulting in further unemployment, high street closures and reduced investment’. Let’s hope the government sees sense and listens to the protests against these tax rises.

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