Slightly difficult…

The Green Party are arch remainers:

HMRC has blamed EU tax laws for the planned rise because they rule out lower VAT rates for energy saving equipment under state aid rules.

The European court of justice ruled in 2015 that energy saving materials should not have been receiving the reduced rate of tax. This led to an increase in VAT for solar systems installed at new-build homes in 2016, but did not affect the majority of houses which would require retrofitting. Those houses will now be affected by the higher rate.

The REA has called on HMRC to cancel the latest increase, which would come into effect as the UK prepares to leave the EU. Any rise should be cancelled as soon as possible after Brexit, the trade group added.

Well, quite.

33 comments on “Slightly difficult…

  1. I love how the article is desperate to lay the blame with HMRC, “pushing” the tax increase. They are like drug pushers, only worse!!

    Suck it up, Remainers. How dare you challenge our European masters – are you some sort of nationalist bigots or something?

  2. What surprised me was this:

    “The 5% VAT rate will still be allowed for housing associations and buyers who are over the age of 60 or receive certain benefits.”

    Age related VAT? How long has that been a thing? What else can I get cheap by being an old codger?

  3. This morning’s Tel carries a letter that makes a monkey of much that the remainers say.

    ‘Boris Johnson recently suggested that the best way to manage Brexit without economic disturbance was to use the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) Article 24 to trade freely with the EU on a temporary basis while a formal free-trade agreement is negotiated.

    The BBC, certain politicians and even Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, appear to be almost wilfully misunderstanding this suggestion in order to deny its possibility. …

    The plain fact is that Article 24 of the Gatt does permit tariff-free trade to continue pending the conclusion of a full free-trade agreement.

    As Mr Johnson has suggested, the UK should offer this to the EU. All that is needed is for the EU to consent to a one-page agreement in principle. A basic tariff-free trade agreement is plainly in the interests of EU exporters and consumers just as much as in those of the UK, if not more.

    There is no need for the 500-page Withdrawal Agreement or any elaborate “implementation period”. Theresa May’s discredited deal, which some politicians are trying to resuscitate, is redundant. A no-deal cliff edge – the Remainers’ bugbear – loses its last threads of credibility.’

    Does anyone know whether the six authors of the letter are right?

  4. That would be the same HMRC that refused to pursue the perpetrators of the £8 billion acknowledged theft of taxpayer funds and refused to say where the monies went apart from admitting that some £80,000,000 alone went to al Qaeda / UBL in Pakistan…..

    Can’t imagine why the Telegraph and Sunday Times are resolutely keeping the details behind their paywalls…….

    2.5 QE class aircraft carriers or 65 F35Bs or a dozen Millenium Domes etcetera , etcetera……

    The reticence about this matter makes one think that it is, as they say – even worse than they’ve already admitted to?

    How many homes could’ve been insulated / solar panels planted / windmills erected?

  5. Tomo – Hmm… I’m not sure this is quite as important as Boris Johnson shouting at his girlfriend:

    Taxman kept quiet while £8bn fraud helped fund Osama bin Laden

    For years a UK gang infiltrated government agencies and funnelled cash to al-Qaeda but the watching HMRC kept MI5 in the dark

    Tom Harper, Home Affairs Correspondent | Sunday Times
    March 30 2019, 6:00pm, The Times

    Gangsters have stolen billions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money and used tens of millions to fund terrorism, according to police and intelligence files.

    A network of British Asians based in London, Buckinghamshire, Birmingham, northwest England and Scotland mounted VAT and benefit frauds against the exchequer over two decades and made further gains from mortgage and credit card fraud targeting banks and individuals. The group netted an estimated £8bn in public money alone.

    The gang, which has links to the 7/7 London bombings in which 52 people died, is alleged to have sent 1% of its gains, or £80m, to al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it funded madrasahs, training camps and other terrorist activities, according to the leaked files.

  6. DM

    This is similar to the point point I raised a week or so ago – Sir Ivan Rogers, ex UK ambassador to the EU, signalling (he was careful with his words) the “not possible” view, but others saying that all was needed was a simple agreement in principle?

    Not my area, but my intuition – looking at both the names under that letter and the undoubted “Project Fear” credentials of the other side – might lead me to bet on the latter.

    I guess we’ll find out soon enough now that Boris is openly playing that particular card, and has done so again this morning.

  7. “bet on the latter” – ie for a simple agreement as noted in para 1, not betting on those plugging Project Fear, obviously.

  8. Got to ask;

    If 1% or £80m went to Al Qaeda, what happened to the other 99%?

    Or are they just shit at money laundering?

  9. Steve

    MI5 in the dark? – love that – if some lolly headed to the Waziristan Haveli, you’d think it’d be MI6 business….

    One has to reckon at in part the timidity displayed in pursuing the baddies is compensated for by the enthusiastic pursuit of thousands of taxi drivers and small tradesmen across the land for some tens of pounds.

    I read somewhere that HMRC aren’t disclosing some detail in order to “preserve taxpayer confidentiality”

    Obviously the embarrassment is also possibly punctuated with waycist tar-pits along the way …..

  10. “Age related VAT? How long has that been a thing? What else can I get cheap by being an old codger?”

    Childern’s clothes, up to a certain size, were/are VAT free. Bone of contention for those of us with a child in the 90th %ile when it came to size.

  11. The age-related bit is because the EU allows state aid in pursuance of social objectives. You can’t discount the VAT for everyone, but you can for selected people.

    Overall, HMRC (and the Government generally) seem to be doing their damnedest to minimise the impact of the ruling. Labour costs are still at 5%, they’ll lump the materials in with labour if labour is more than 60% of the overall cost, special cases for the old and those on benefits…

    It’s like when the EU said you need to have a VAT receipt for petrol when employees do mileage claims. OK, says HMRC, make sure you have a receipt. One that’s vaguely the right amount, at vaguely the right time. Not that we’ll bother checking it.

  12. Arthur the Cat said:
    “What surprised me was this: ‘The 5% VAT rate will still be allowed for housing associations and buyers who are over the age of 60 or receive certain benefits.’”

    It’s an EU idea that the 5% VAT rate is meant to be for social policy reasons, and therefore has to be connected with some definition of need (never mind that pensioners aren’t necessarily more in need than anyone else).

    They tried this on Maggie over zero-rating of new-build houses. She was more robust, told them that she had a social policy of encouraging home ownership, and sent them packing. But not surprising that this limp-wristed cringing crew caved in.

  13. A basic tariff-free trade agreement is plainly in the interests of EU exporters and consumers just as much as in those of the UK, if not more.

    EU exporters aren’t in charge though – Euro federalists are, and they have a long record of disregarding the interests of those they Lord it over.

  14. “Shouldn’t VAT be abolished after we leave the EU?”

    No, not if you suspect that taxing consumption is less economically damaging than taxing income.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a superhigh rate of VAT on some expensive toys – a sort of sumptuary tax. It wouldn’t take much skill to draft it so that it hit the sales of BMWs, Mercedes, Porsches …, and expensive clarets, burgundies, champers, pongs, and women’s clothes.

  15. Abolish VAT, cut income tax and cut spending.

    Wave of the future.

    NB-Does anyone know where I could obtain a new clutch for a 2006 Wagon R+ Suzuki? Proving hard to obtain. Cars from decades ago can be kept on the road but 12 years ago and parts seem to have dried up. Anybody know anyone who could make said clutch if needs be? Thanks in advance.

  16. Mr Ecks ….. eBay?

    Most “consumer” clutch parts are generic – the plate diameter / shaft splines and flywheel attachments only allow a limited set of choices – I have found clutches this way in the past. Not exactly an exotic vehicle…. 🙂

  17. @ dearieme
    There is a sumptuary tax on petrol, with VAT on top. I don’t see why we cannot impose it on wine, luxury cars (most of those purchased in the UK are imported, most of those made in the UK are exported), handbags, designer dresses, … [Actually there is a low-level sumptuary tax on wine that we could treble with no harm to the UK economy]

  18. @dearieme
    “I wouldn’t mind seeing a superhigh rate of VAT on ….., and women’s clothes.”

    If you want less of something, tax it

  19. @Mr Ecks June 25, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    Check LuK, Ferodo, Valeo, QH, Blue Print, National Auto Parts etc catalogues

    Try Eurocarparts, ebay, Pentland Components, Dingbro

    There’s a business in Belfast (near Albert Bridge) that re-manufactures clutches.

    Tip you need a clutch Kit – ie includes release bearing; don’t skimp on parts costs as Labour will be ~70-80% of bill.

  20. Re: Bloke in North Dorset

    Children’s clothes, up to a certain size, were/are VAT free. Bone of contention for those of us with a child in the 90th %ile when it came to size.

    I think that the VAT exemption only applies to the standard, tiny, British children of the type who were regularly sent up chimneys to clean them (the chimneys, not the children). Mine stopped qualifying for VAT-free clothing when they were 8 for the boy and 9 for the girl. Neither are particularly tall for their ages over here in Godzone.

    Luckily we could get most of the VAT back by queuing for 90 minutes at the airport, and paying a hefty processing fee for the privilege.

  21. @ Pcar
    +1
    I remember that, when I was in my 30s and temporarily feeling flush, I asked my tailor about casual clothes and he told me to go to John Lewis Boys department, buy a pair of trousers and he would take them in for me. I didn’t pay VAT at JLP.
    I am mildly staggered reading your link – I haven’t thrown out my 28″ waist trousers because I tell myself I could still lose the spare tyre and then they would be useful.

  22. @john 77

    “I haven’t thrown out my 28″ waist trousers because I tell myself I could still lose the spare tyre and then they would be useful.”

    Same here, inc several pairs of unworn Lands’ End jeans. Need to lose 5″

  23. Same here, inc several pairs of unworn Lands’ End jeans. Need to lose 5″

    You could try the Charles I method. From the other end, obviously.

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