MP Sir Peter Tapsell discusses VAT changes with static caravan owners
CARAVAN park owners got the chance to discuss VAT changes and other issues affecting the industry with MP Sir Peter Tapsell.
The Lincolnshire branch of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association held a meeting at Woodthorpe Hall Caravan and Leisure Park near Alford and invited the area's MP to talk to members and take a tour of facilities.
Sir Peter was shown the new golf driving range and had the chance to speak with some of its users before getting the opportunity to view one of the static caravans currently on sale.
He was then taken on a tour of the park in a electric golf buggy before addressing association members prior to their formal meeting hosted by owner Janet Stubbs at Woody's Bar.
He explained the process by which an initial proposed 20 per cent VAT increase on new caravans, announced in the Budget, had been reduced to five per cent from April 2013 and answered questions from the floor.
He said: "I have had a very exciting outing, I wish all my outings were as exciting as this.
"I have come here to learn, I have already learned quite a bit and it goes without saying as I have represented a Lincolnshire constituency for half a century, that I understand the importance of the caravan industry to the whole economy of the local area.
"You may ask why at a time when industries are having a hard time, would we put any increase on taxation at all? Well the answer to that is the coalition government faces a very grave economic situation."
Owner of the Pine Trees Leisure Park near Skegness, Jim Dodsworth said: "Common sense has prevailed and I am glad you explained just how fragile the situation is and it's very fragile in East Lindsey because of the total dependency in the tourism and hospitality trade."
Sir Peter was questioned about current restrictions on residential caravans which see many people having to leave their sites for one or two months each year, often with nowhere else to live.
He urged members to raise the issue with East Lindsey District Council but also said the problems surrounding the need for more affordable homes were part of a much bigger problem which would eventually need to be addressed nationally.