U-turn on caravan tax mean jobs safe

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JOBS look safer at caravan parks in the Spalding area following the Government’s U-turn on tax plans for static caravans.

Concern swept the county when Chancellor George Osborne announced the introduction of 20 per cent VAT in the March Budget.

Local parks were then faced with a cold, wet spring and a reluctance from customers to buy caravans in the economic uncertainty.

But the outlook is brighter following the news static caravans will now only be charged VAT at five per cent. The charge will also be delayed from October to April next year.

The government U-turn came about after widespread opposition from its members, including Boston and Skegness MP Mark Simmonds, and lobbying from the National Caravan Council (NCC).

NCC members claimed the tax rise would lead to 4,340 job losses at holiday parks across the UK, with a further 1,446 jobs lost in the manufacturing sector and 1,500 at suppliers.

Some of those jobs at risk could have been at Heron Cottage Camping and Caravanning in Frostley Gate, Holbeach St Johns.

Park owner Ashley Boxall has four sites in Lincolnshire catering for 800 units, with the other three in Skegness, Chapel St Leonards and Anderby Creek.

He said: “Sales were down dramatically. We’ve had to cut back and would have had to look at lay-offs.

“The five per cent tax will impact a bit, but not as much as 20 per cent. We are hoping that sales will start picking up now.”

Belinda Young, manager of the Deepings Caravan Park in Market Deeping, said: “It’s brilliant news. It’s quiet at the moment with the economic downturn and 20 per cent VAT wouldn’t have helped.

The park has 79 statics, some of which are rented out. Belinda said: “At least weather hasn’t hit us too hard. People still book and, if it’s bad, look for something to do.”