EMBARRASSMENT FOR GOVERNMENT AS TORY COUNCILLORS CONDEMN VAT RISE

There is embarrassment for the Tory/Lib Dem Government today after Conservative councillors in Hartlepool joined with Labour members to condemn the planned VAT rise.

 

Two Tory Councillors, including the Leader of the Conservative Group, have put their names to a motion to Hartlepool Council which condemns the VAT rise as having a “disproportionate impact on pensioners, families and those least well off in our town; and will have a severe impact on businesses, charities and community groups in Hartlepool “

 

The motion has been signed by Councillor George Morris Leader of the Conservative group and Tory Councillor Ray Wells together with Labour Councillors.

 

Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Jonathan Brash said;

 

“I welcome the support of my Conservative colleagues on the Council for this motion. The planned VAT rise by the Conservative Lib Dem government will hit many local pensioners, families and business hard. At a time when the local economy in Hartlepool is just beginning to recover, this unfair tax rise will hit the poor hardest and stifle the recovery.”

 

Labour MP for Hartlepool, Iain Wright said;

 

“The planned increase in VAT is unfair and will cost every household in Hartlepool an extra £500 a year in tax.  During the General Election the Tories and Lib Dems both denied they would increase VAT. The Liberals actually campaigned against it. This highlights the fact that these VAT rises have absolutely no support from the public. They can’t even get Conservative Councillors to support it."

 

The motion will be debated at the next Full Council meeting on August 5th 2010 and asks to Council to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to raise concerns about the impact of the VAT change.

 

Ends

 

Notes to Editors:

 

1. The Full Motion to Council reads;


 

Council notes:

 

That the increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20%, announced in the Government’s June Budget, will fall hardest on those least able to afford it. The amount of disposable income spent on VAT is 11.6% for the lowest 20% of earners, while for the top 20% it is only 5.7%. This means that an increase in VAT will hit the poorest twice as hard as the richest and is by definition an unfair tax.


 

That the increase in VAT will lead to higher prices for goods and services; will have a disproportionate impact on pensioners, families and those least well off in our town; and will have a severe impact on businesses, charities and community groups in Hartlepool.


 

That his attack on pensioners, families and those least well off in society runs counter to the Government’s Coalition Agreement statement on 20 May 2010 that it would “ensure that fairness is at the heart of those decisions so that all those most in need are protected”.


 

Moreover the increase in VAT is a total betrayal of the pre-election pledge made by the Liberal party to not increase this tax.


 

Finally, the increase in VAT will unfairly tax SME in Hartlepool, damage the local economy and increase employment. It is the “real jobs tax”.


That the Institute of Fiscal Studies has stated the VAT increase was not “unavoidable”, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his Budget speech.


Council resolves:


 

To write directly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer raising concerns about the impact of the proposed VAT increase on pensioners, other vulnerable groups and businesses in Hartlepool. That this letter should be signed by all group leaders, plus any other member that wishes to.


 

Signed:-
Councillor C Simmons
Councillor J Brash
Councillor S Maness
Councillor G Morris
Councillor R Wells
Councillor S Griffin.


2. As part of their budget proposals, the Coalition government plans to raise VAT from 17.5% to 20% in January 2011.