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MEP brands EC court decision “crazy”

Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England has called the European Commission’s decision to take the UK to court over tax breaks for the Green Deal “crazy”.

Last week, the Commission confirmed it would take the UK government to court because it believes the UK is breaking EU law by charging VAT at a rate of just 5% on energy saving materials, like insulation.

Building reports that Ford, who coordinated a letter to energy commissioner Günther Oettinger urging the Commission to examine the issue, said the decision to press ahead with the case was “unacceptable”.

“From every political party, from Germany to Luxembourg to Denmark and beyond, MEPs are united in saying that this challenge is completely crazy,” she said.

“The UK should refuse to pay any fine for this.”

Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, said it was “extraordinary” decision by the Commission. “Our government needs to fight this tooth and nail,” he said.

“The UK government has been providing lower rate VAT on relevant energy efficiency goods and services for over a decade. It is a complete mystery as to why [the Commission] should after so many years be trying to quadruple VAT rates,” he said.

The European Commission’s case rests upon its arguments that

· there is no specific provision in EU law to allow a reduced rate of VAT on Energy saving materials

· That the legal provisions on which the UK relies as the basis for the reduced rate only apply where introduced “as part of a social policy”, whereas the UK’s policy has been introduced as part of an environmental policy

Read what buildersmerchatsjournal.net’s Editor thinks about the EU’s decision here .

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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