Caravan tax: MP Graham Stuart takes debate to Commons
BEVERLEY and Holderness MP Graham Stuart will today warn ministers of the "very deep and widespread concern" over plans into introduce VAT on static caravans.
The Conservative MP will use his adjournment debate in the House of Commons tonight to call on the Treasury to drop the measure, which experts predict could lead to more than 7,000 job losses nationwide.
Mr Stuart's debate comes days after the Government's majority was slashed to just 25 when the issue was taken to a vote – the coalition's smallest majority since the tuition fees vote in 2010.
The Mail understands many backbench MPs gave ministers the "benefit of the doubt" at last week's vote but have threatened to rebel when the issue returns to the Commons in the summer if no compromise has been reached.
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Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr Stuart said: "I shall tell the minister of the very deep and widespread concern held by Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs, both inside and outside Government, about the impact of this measure on the tourism industry.
"The impact will be felt not only in East Yorkshire, where the majority of the caravan industry is based, but across the whole coastal and holiday park community.
"My primary aim is to explain to the minister that, with such widespread concern, it will not be worth the political pain to pursue the measure, particularly when it will raise such little revenue for Treasury.
"Even by the Government's own estimates, which we think are wrong, we believe that the amount raised will be far outstripped by costs of unemployment."
As exclusively revealed by the Mail earlier this week, the National Caravan Council estimates 4,340 jobs could be cut at holiday parks across the country, on top of the 3,000 jobs at risk at caravan manufacturers and in the supply chain.
The figures are based on the Government's own estimates that the introduction of VAT on static caravans will lead to a 15 per cent retail price hike and could reduce demand by 30 per cent.
The Mail understands the amount raised from the tax will be £40 million a year, but the cost in unemployment will be up to £45 million – meaning the caravan tax would actually lose revenue for the Treasury.
Treasury Secretary David Gauke is expected to respond to Mr Stuart's 30 minute debate.