Caravan Tax hit by ski-lift concession

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PRESSURE is mounting on the Government to drop the controversial Caravan Tax that could cost more than 1,000 jobs in Yorkshire as MPs contrast the proposal with a plan to slash VAT on ski lifts.

Hull MP Diana Johnson highlighted the clear discrepancy between Treasury plans to introduce the 20 per cent tax on static holiday caravans for the first time – threatening large numbers of manufacturing jobs in East Yorkshire – and a separate scheme that would see ski lift operators pay a greatly-reduced VAT rate.

The Labour backbencher was speaking in the Commons yesterday ahead of a major debate on the Caravan Tax tomorrow night.

She said the ski lift tax cut would directly benefit Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander’s constituency, which covers the Scottish ski resort of Aviemore.

“Can the Minister explain why it is that VAT on ski lifts in the Chief Secretary’s constituency have been reduced, but in my constituency thousands of people are going to lose their jobs with the Government’s plans to increase VAT on static caravans?” she asked.

Treasury Minister David Gauke insisted the changes would bring in “greater consistency”, suggesting ski-lifts were a form of public transport.

“VAT is chargeable on mobile caravans, on camper vans, on narrowboats, and on tents, and we are seeking to have greater consistency in this area,” he said.

“With regards to ski lifts and other forms of cable-based transport, it is the case that in France and Germany and Austria and Italy there is a reduced rate – and indeed for most areas of public transport it is zero-rated.”

Conservative backbencher Greg Knight also spoke having faced heavy criticism last week as the only East Yorkshire MP to vote in favour of the new tax.

He asked Ministers to “give some thought to the many thousands of people up and down the country who could lose their jobs.”