WHAT with ‘pasty tax’, ‘granny tax’, party funding rows and all the rest of it, the last few weeks has been less than brilliant for the coalition.

On things like the pasty tax, I have argued the case nationally that if the objective is to remove anomalies in the system that allows supermarkets to undercut high street chip shops by not charging VAT, that anomaly can be just as easily resolved by removing VAT from all hot fast food as it can be by increasing it on bakers’ shops.

But the latest round of anguish is the so-called charity tax.

Capping tax allowances (as has been proposed) on individuals means that the very rich will be less likely to pay a lower effective tax rate than an average person living in Wyre Forest.

Those against this say that this will stop the rich giving to charity as they will no longer be able to offset giving against tax, thus depriving the charity sector of its bigger philanthropists.

I have two issues with this. The first is that wealthy donors offsetting giving against their tax bill costs the government (in other words, us, the taxpayers) about £100 million a year and that is £100 million less that we can spend on schools, hospitals, police etc.

The second is that it is up to the wealthy donor where the money goes. Wyre Forest’s share of this £100 million is around £1.5 million per year. What the current situation means is that rich individuals can effectively deprive Wyre Forest of £1.5 million and give that money to the Royal Ballet, or Eton (private schools are registered charities).

Now, clearly it is not as simplistic as that, but this example illustrates that there is a reason we all pay taxes and ultimately it is up to all of us to contribute – especially when the government has already introduced measures to help charitable donation in other areas.

In Wyre Forest, in addition to the obvious implications of the various well highlighted VAT changes, there is another that threatens our local economy.

Caravan Tax is one where VAT is being proposed to be levied on new caravans. There is a consultation under way (as with many of the others), but with 27 caravan parks in Wyre Forest and tourism being a very significant engine of the local economy, increasing the cost of caravans can only decrease the demand for them and this could have a detrimental effect on our local tourist economy.


Email: mark.garnier.mp@ parliament.uk.

Telephone: 020 7219 7198 or 01562 746771.

Write: 9a Lower Mill Street, Kidderminster, DY11 6UU, or House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.