PRESSURE is mounting on the Government to drop its controversial Caravan Tax after a petition against the VAT changes attracted “tens of thousands” of signatures.
MPs will present the petition to Government next Tuesday ahead of a final decision whether to proceed with the new tax as planned.
Ministers have been taken aback by the scale of the opposition to proposals to start charging VAT on static holiday caravans for the first time, threatening thousands of jobs in East Yorkshire – where most units are manufactured – and many more across the wider tourism industry.
Last month the Government suffered its biggest backbench rebellion since the row over tuition fees as it pushed the new tax rate through Parliament. Under pressure from East Yorkshire MPs, it extended the deadline of its consultation to this coming Friday.
Almost 50 MPs have now signed an early day motion calling for the tax to be dropped, and Beverley Tory MP Graham Stuart said yesterday a public petition has attracted “tens of thousands of signatures from across the UK”.
He said “So far I have received more than 3,000 signatures from the residents of Beverley and Holderness and I know my colleagues have accepted many more from their own patches as well.
“I hope we can collect as many signatures as possible to send a strong message to Government about how widespread the opposition to this tax increase is.”
However, despite projections of thousands of job losses if the tax change goes ahead, it was defended yesterday by Employment Minister Chris Grayling.
“We have to take difficult decisions and we have to treat people fairly in the tax system,” he told the Yorkshire Post. “Treating potentially the same vehicle hooked to a car or the back of a van as one that’s not moving – you take tough decisions. But at the same time we are cutting taxes for business.”