‘Tax grab’ threatens caravan firm jobs

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A WIGAN firm could be forced to shed a quarter of its staff due to a controversial new tax.

Bosses at award-winning Pemberton Leisure Homes of Springfield fear that the Chancellor’s threat to impose VAT on new static caravans from October could plunge the industry into crisis with a 30 per cent reduction in demand.

And that could mean 40 of the 160 workers having to be made redundant from the Woodhouse Lane plant.

Pemberton Leisure Homes issued the warning after a meeting with Wigan MP Lisa Nandy who has joined a Parliamentary campaign demanding Mr Osborne drop the tax threat.

Managing director of Pemberton leisure Homes John Finch described Pemberton Leisure Homes as a Wigan “manufacturing success story” which had been trading for more than 70 years with a highly skilled workforce. Mr Finch said: “We disagree with the imposition of an additional 15 per cent of VAT as we believe this to be unfair as wealthier families may prefer bricks and mortar such as cottages, and apartments which are still zero rated for VAT.

“Caravan holiday homes are not the same as touring caravans and have always been linked and taxed the same as permanent dwellings.

“If you look at all the lost PAYE, NIC, and Corporation tax plus the additional costs of redundancy, social security payments that a rise in the VAT will cause these would be significantly higher than the extra revenue generated.

“Pemberton alone has paid £15m pounds to HMRC in the form of Corporation Tax, PAYE/NIC and VAT in the last five years.”

Wigan MP Ms Nandy is opposing “this ill thought out tax raid” and has backed a cross party group of MPs opposed to extending VAT to all caravans with a petition to Parliament. She said: “Whatever way you look at it there is no economic gain.

“This proposal will have a drastic impact on the operation of Pemberton Leisure Homes, well run company employing skilled craftspeople from across the borough.

“They will have to absorb dramatic costs increases which will lead to possible lay offs, no gain for a lot of pain.”