THE controversial ‘caravan tax’ is now a step closer after the proposal squeezed through a key vote in Parliament last week.
Chancellor George Osborne’s planned VAT on static caravans from October has been roundly criticised locally with Louth MP Sir Peter Tapsell this week telling the Leader he was ‘not at all happy with the plans’.
Despite 17 Tory MPs rebelling, the motion was carried by a margin of just 25 MPs, with Prime Minister David Cameron calling the measures ‘fair’.
The area’s Conservative MP, Sir Peter Tapsell, told the Leader: “I’m not at all happy with the effect the VAT will have on static caravans and our tourist industry.”
He admitted the Government needs to raise money to deal with the country’s debt, but said the caravan industry was ‘of great importance’ for our coast.
“I’m hopeful of a second bite of the cherry when the bill comes back at report stage, if it’s still unsuitable I will either abstain or vote against it.”
The Government say the VAT will bring in £45 million directly over the next five years, but the National Caravan Council say the tax would impact ‘adversely’ on domestic tourism via a trickle down effect into job losses for related industry sectors.
In our post-Budget report last month local caravan site owners called the measures a ‘kick in the teeth’ that would slow the whole industry down.
Leader of East Lindsey District Council, Coun Doreen Stephenson, wrote to Mr Osborne last month to vent her ‘great concern’ at the plans.
She said: “I am very concerned that introducing this increase over such a short space of time risks damaging the progress that is being made in East Lindsey.
“It needs to be recognised that East Lindsey currently has over 24,000 static caravans, and this proposal will inevitably have a disproportionately negative impact on our area.”