Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Confusion over VAT cuts for aged

The following article concerns changes in the recent budget and confusion over what they actually mean. Budget 2007.

Gordon Brown's promise to help "grandfathers and grandmothers living with their sons and daughters" was met with scepticism by the very industry it should benefit most.

In last week's Budget the Chancellor announced that VAT on home alterations will be cut from 17.5pc to 5pc for pensioners.

But industry executives were confused to learn that the home alterations would include the installation of stair-lifts, bath lifts and similar types of equipment, as these are already zero-rated for the chronically sick and disabled.

Jon Stannah, managing director of Stannah Group, said: "Almost all people that buy a stair-lift are chronically sick or disabled. These are long-term problems people have in their later years, so it will have little impact on our business. This is why I'm a bit sceptical.

"Brown needs to clarify what the VAT changes are for these home adaptations and the scope of the changes. There is a lot of confusion in the industry about this announcement."

The move was welcomed by the broader industry, which is mainly made up of privately-owned small and medium sized enterprises. Director general of the British Healthcare Trades Association, Ray Hodgkinson, said: "Having products and services more readily available with that sort of facility in the VAT makes it easier for people to buy things for themselves. It will certainly help businesses sell products to people."