David Davis celebrates caravan tax u-turn


The Hull Daily Mail report:

Caravan firms have celebrated with East Yorkshire’s MPs after securing a victory in the fight against the caravan tax.

Instead of imposing 20 per cent VAT on the sale static caravans from October, the Government backtracked on its proposals this week.

 After politicians and manufacturers linked up to challengethe proposal, the Government announced it would introduce 5 per cent VAT from next April.

Tory MPs David Davis, Andrew Percy, Graham Stuart and Greg Knight teamed up with manufacturers to celebrate their success at caravan firm ABI in Swinemoor Lane, Beverley, yesterday.

Mel Copper, of ABI, said: “I would have preferred to maintain the status quo at zero per cent VAT but 5 per cent is obviously something we can accommodate and live with. Bringing in 20 per cent VAT would, according to the Government’s own figures, have resulted in a 30 per cent reduction in demand.

“Had that been allowed to happen, it would have unfortunately led to job losses at ABI.

“Now, I cannot see any job losses here in the future, which is fantastic news, first and foremost for my workforce and then the industry and everyone involved through the supple chain. “We are still in a fragile recovery and have been since 2009. Hopefully, this will give everyone a good base to start from.”

The fight against the caravan tax gathered momentum when Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the proposal in his Budget in March.

Experts claimed the tax would have resulted in thousands of job losses and would have seen the price of an average static caravan increase by about £4,000 to £20,000.

Speaking at ABI was East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight, who initially voted with the Government to impose 20 per cent VAT on static caravans.

Conservative Mr Knight, who was the only MP in the region to vote against a cross-party motion that called on the Government to reverse its decision, said: “It is refreshing to have a Government who first extended the consultation period as I requested and then, during that period, listened to the concerns of the industry, and acted accordingly.

“My initial vote was a tactical one and I had made clear in the main vote, which would take place in June, I would vote against the plans.”

Following the meeting with bosses from local caravan manufacturers, Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, walked around the ABI shop floor and spoke to staff.

Paul Smith, 42, of Beverley has worked on the shop floor for 27 years.

He said: “It was a big boost having the MPs’ support and all the staff were getting the petition signed.

“I didn’t expect the Government to back down. I thought it would be all or nothing.

“Everybody has been talking about the decision and it has definitely lifted the mood around the place.”

VICTORIOUS:  MPs Graham Stuart, Greg Knight and  David Davis  meet staff at  ABI in  Beverley.  Picture: Kate Woolhouse