VAT Reduction Could Lower Cost Of Scilly’s Freight Says MP
Scilly’s new MP says an exemption on VAT could be a novel idea to help reduce freight costs to the islands.
Derek Thomas spoke to Radio Scilly during a one-day visit to St Mary’s on Friday.
He said we’re “not going to win the argument” on a passenger subsidy, because the rules just don’t allow it.
But he feels that if the cost of getting goods back and forth could be reduced, it would benefit everything from housing to tourism.
Derek says he’s already contacted the Treasury and Chancellor George Osborne to discuss his idea, similar to the lower fuel duty paid by Scilly and several island communities in Scotland.
The real challenge would be to ensure that any reduction is passed on to customers fairly, he says.
And in a time of austerity, he’ll need to show that a VAT exemption would be “cost neutral” to the government.
But he believes that could be achieved through the increased tax being paid as a result of more housing and employment on the islands.
Derek doesn’t rule out further help being provided to “soften” the cost of goods here too, if a VAT reduction isn’t sufficient.
And he says he’s using the fact that he’s a brand new MP with a slim majority, to his advantage to get as much as he can for the area.
It’s a chance to restart discussions with government departments and to look at Scilly’s transport problems “from a fresh view and a different angle,” says Derek.