Report by Alex Evans, Reporter
Thursday, May 24, 2012
A PETITION against a proposed caravan VAT increase has been launched by MPs after key tourism figures descended on Parliament last week to voice their concerns.
The proposals by the Government to increase the sales tax on static holiday caravans from zero-rated to 20 per cent could cost caravan park owners in the South West £40million if implemented, according to leisure sector experts.
It means the cost of holiday caravans will rise significantly, leaving businesses to either foot the bill or pass on rises to customers.
The plans, put forward in Chancellor George Osborne’s latest budget, have been met with widespread opposition in Weston and Somerset.
MP for Cheddar, Burnham and Highbridge Tessa Munt last week welcomed caravan park owners and Ros Pritchard OBE, director general of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, (the national body which represents the parks industry), to Parliament.
They met Treasury Minister MP David Gauke to explain the impact a VAT rise would have on the economy.
The visit comes as MPs across the country organised a petition against the planned increase, signed by more than 10,000 people when the Mercury went to print.
Ms Munt said: “I am pleased I was able to secure this meeting with to enable many local business people to come to London and make their views clear.
“I do believe this VAT proposal should be rethought and I have always said that it is important for ministers to meet and listen to those people who will be most affected by proposed decisions.
“Tourism is an integral part of Somerset’s economy and I look forward to seeing the result of the Government consultation. I very much hope the views of local people and businesses are taken into account.”
To view or sign the petition, go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32781