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Mover asks PM for a zero VAT threshold

Feb 24, 2015
David Trenchard from Britannia Leatherbarrows, recently contacted The Mover to tell of a meeting he had attended with the British Prime Minister David Cameron on 15 December in Poole.

David Trenchard, who was the leader of the Bournemouth Council for nine years, is no stranger to these type of political meetings and makes a point of attending them regularly to lobby on matters he feels are important to the moving industry.  The matter exercising his thoughts this time was the high UK VAT threshold and the affect it has in creating a ‘cash’ market in the industry.

He said to the PM that businesses in the UK are tax collectors for the government through the collection of VAT and asked for the PM to consider bringing the UK threshold down making it closer to some of our European partners.  “A zero threshold means that every business will have to account for the money it takes and take away the umbrella [£81,000] beneath which some quite large enterprises shelter, employing people on the black economy and allowing the black economy to thrive,” he said.  “We want to compete fairly with other businesses.”

The Prime Minister, however, said that the VAT threshold encouraged new businesses to start. “So it’s something that we guard jealously in our country,” he said.  He added that it was the government’s aim, however, to make sure that both businesses and individuals pay the taxes that they owe, not evade taxes.  He expects the government’s planned measures in this regard to generate an extra £5billion in revenue in the next parliament.

David said that he received the answer he expected from David Cameron however that wasn’t a reason not to keep asking.  Over many years he and other industry colleagues have made every effort to ask these difficult questions of those in authority and have had some success.  Most recently, for example, the government imposed VAT on self storage in part at least, David believes, in response to this type of lobbying.  

There are many smaller moving companies that operate without registering for VAT however it would be very difficult for a company that was capable of providing a living for its proprietors and staff to do so with a turnover of under £80,000/year.  David says, therefore, that there are many businesses who take cash from customers and pay cash wages as a way of keeping under the limit.  This, he believes, is unfair to the legitimate operators.

“I would like to encourage all moving companies who have experienced this behaviour in their competitors to write to their members of parliament,” he said, adding that the run up to the election later this year is the best time to lobby MPs as they make a particular effort to court the electorate.

The UK VAT threshold of £81,000 is much higher than any other country in Europe.  Ireland, at €75,000 is closest with Malta, Spain and Sweden all having a zero limit.  Germany, by comparison, has a limit of just €17,500.

Link to David Cameron’s speech:

Photo:  David Trenchard (Britannia Leatherbarrows) asks David Cameron for a zero VAT threshold

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