Government backs down on controversial static caravan tax
Reports suggest that the Coalition Government has changed its plans for a caravan tax
Tuesday, 29, May 2012 11:12
by Chris Jefferies and Tom Lowenstein
The Government has given in to public pressure and backtracked on its controversial plans to apply 20 per cent VAT to all static caravans, according to recent reports from Westminster.
Following a widespread protest campaign, the Coalition appears to have backed down and will now only be applying five per cent VAT to static caravans.
What's more, the tax increase will not come into force until April next year.
This marks a significant victory for both the industry and the wider caravanning public, after the National Caravan Council (NCC) spearheaded a nationwide campaign and online petition, which resulted in more than 10,000 signatories and the support of 30 MPs.
So far it is not clear how these changes will affect larger touring caravans such as the Bailey Retreat and the Welsh-made Fifth Wheel caravans.
A Treasury spokesperson announced: "After extensive engagement we have improved the policy, addressing practical concerns, ensuring that the new regime could be as simple as possible to apply."
A cross-party coalition of MPs led the rebellion and forced the reversal, which the NCC said will safeguard as many as 7,000 jobs.
Guy Sparkles, the managing director of the Patrington Haven caravan park in east Yorkshire, told the BBC: "It shows the government has listened to all the warnings and predictions that the industry has put forward.
"I think we would've had lots of job losses within our industry and the local areas, they would have had a knock on effect."
East Yorkshire proved to be the hub of the campaign, with MPs from the region leading the campaign and presenting the Early Day Motion against the policy that was signed by 70 MPs.
Meanwhile, David Davis, Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, said that the u-turn marked a "great victory" for those who opposed the tax.
"It's common sense," he told the BBC. "It will actually save money at the end of the day. The previous proposal would have cost thousands of jobs."
Mr Osborne was also forced to abandon his plans for a so-called 'pasty tax' under similar opposition, with Labour declaring that his policies were a "total shambles".