Lesley Cross wants to reform the VAT process...
"Are you in the throes of building/creating an extension to your home so you can provide care and facilities to a loved one who is disabled? Are you struggling with the costs? Is the VAT element causing headache and hardship? What do you think about the following suggestions?
The recent VAT increase from 17.5% to 20% should not have been applied to the element incurring VAT – the VAT should be reduced again to 17.5% and made retrospective to 4 January 2011 - the date of the recent increase.
There should be a review of the legislation allowing zero-rating for certain aspects taking into account the aims of the current legislation i.e. to provide quality of life for disabled persons.
There should be an allowance for discretion to enable zero-rating of services and supplies not directly attributable to the disabled person (i.e. new central heating systems necessary because the existing one will not cope with additional radiators etc.)"
Lesley's reasons for suggesting these changes are:
- Currently only a small element of an extension qualifies for zero-rating – the remainder now incurs 20% VAT – that is a huge percentage of the total work at a time when people are struggling to fund these necessities.
- There should be a wider interpretation of the split – i.e. why is it necessary to say a doorway can be widened but not a new doorway built yet other legislation says that disabled people should have access to family rooms etc – the current approach does not take into account that widening the existing doorway often still does not allow room for manoeuvering of a wheelchair. There are many other reasons to justify discretionary zero-rating.
- These facilities have a huge knock-on saving for the NHS and other groups.
- These proposals will not cost the Government a lot of lost VAT. The amount redistributed won’t go into savings account but will be used to pay for other goods and services which will incur VAT.
- Huge steps in legislation have been taken to improve the quality of life for disabled people yet the current VAT legislation doesn’t keep up with those aims and intentions.
Lesley is wanting as many people as possible to write their MP and back the campaign.
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Lesley recently got in touch to tell Scope how her campaign was progressing:
"I have finally received two official replies – one from HMRC and the other from the Exchequer Secretary to The Treasury. Both say that the current concessions for disabled people are held with the agreement of the other Member States of the EU. They also say “we cannot extend their scope or introduce new ones”. In fact HMRC say “. Indeed, the UK’s VAT reliefs for disabled people form part of one of the most wide-ranging and generous packages of VAT reliefs anywhere in the EU.” I also know there was a promise in the Budget to have a review of VAT at EU level – Charities are gearing themselves up for this – who will be in there making sure the voice of the lone person/family is heard? The list of “possibly changes” coming out of this review is endless – what are the changes we in the UK will benefit from that review?"