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MPs to debate "damaging" beer tax

The tax paid on beer in pubs is "damaging" the brewing industry, according to a West Yorkshire MP.

It comes ahead a Commons debate in which MPs from the region are expected to call for a "thorough review" of the impact of the beer duty escalator.

The policy sees the tax on beer increase by 2% above the rate of inflation.

Greg Mulholland, the Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, helped secure today's debate. He said it would give MPs the chance to make the Treasury aware of the "strength of feeling against the controversial policy."

The beer duty escalator is hugely damaging to brewers and whereas supermarkets can absorb the increase in the price of beer, pubs simply cannot.

The policy flies in the face of Government calls for growth, but also is self defeating as due to pub closing and falling sales, it doesn't raise the money predicted by the Treasury.**

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– Greg Mulholland MP (Lib Dem, Leeds North West)

The debate comes after an e-petition calling on the Treasury to remove the beer duty escalator at the next budget was signed by more than 100,000 people.

The Government recognises that pubs and brewers make an important contribution to local communities and to the wider economy, in addition to providing local employment and promoting responsible drinking.

This is why at Budget 2012 we announced no further changes to alcohol duties, beyond the increases pre-announced at Budget 2008 by the previous Government. The ‘duty escalator’ refers to those inherited plans to increase all alcohol duty rates by 2 per cent above inflation (RPI) each year to 2014 - 2015.

– Government response to the e-petition.

Lib Dem tax plans are "empty words"

Liberal Democrat plans to claw back more money from people who “sit on a fortune” have been described as “empty words” by Yorkshire MP.

Nick Clegg’s aides said he would insist on fresh taxes for the wealthy as the price for accepting billions of pounds of extra spending cuts in 2015/16.

Meanwhile Danny Alexander, Treasury Chief Secretary, today revealed that a crackdown on tax dodgers was being extended to all those worth £1 million or more.

But Labour's Shadow Treasury Chief Secretary, Rachel Reeves, said that people will judge the Liberal Democrats "on what they do, not what they say".

Nobody will be fooled by Nick Clegg’s empty words on tax. This is the man who backed a £3 billion tax cut for millionaires in the Budget while asking millions of pensioners and families to pay more.

– Rachel Reeves MP (Labour, Leeds West)

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Pictures: 'True cost of fuel' signs go up in filling stations

As fuel prices increase again - a campaign's started to show drivers in our region the true cost of tax paid on Petrol and Diesel.

True cost of petrol Credit: Taxpayers Alliance/Nick Pickles

Signs are going up at filling stations showing the breakdown of what we are paying for. The taxpayer's alliance says 60 per cent of what we pay at the pumps goes directly to the tax man. They are hoping to put pressure on the Chancellor to cut duty by five pence per litre over the next five years.

True cost of petrol Credit: Taxpayers Alliance/Nick Pickles
True cost of petrol Credit: Taxpayers Alliance/Nick Pickles

York residents hit by rise in tax bills

Taxpayers in York have seen the biggest increase in their tax bills since the start of the financial crisis. They paid 31% more tax in 2009/10 than in 2006/7.

High taxes are making life a lot harder for many families struggling to make ends meet in the recession, often now relying on a single income when they would have had two earners before. The Government needs to act and cut the tax burden or Britain's current dismal economic performance will continue and many people will be pushed over the edge."

– Matthew Sinclair, TaxPayers' Alliance

Tax fraudsters sentenced

Two men from West Yorkshire have been sentenced for defrauding the taxpayer out of £45,000.

46-year-old Stephen Prentis and 45-year-old David Birdsall, childhood friends from Leeds, posed as city centre property developers.

Prentis and Birdsall assumed they had come up with an easy plan to try and cheat the system but were caught out by our rigorous compliance checks. As an accountant, Birdsall should have known better than to attempt to play the system. VAT fraud is a serious criminal offence and is treated as such by the justice system. HMRC are determined to catch people who think it is acceptable to commit tax fraud.

– Peter Hollier, HMRC Assistant director for Criminal Investigation

They submitted two false VAT returns to claim money they were not entitled to. However, HMRC officers discovered they were lying and their premises were in fact virtual office space, where they had simply rented a desk and mailbox.

Stephen Prentis was sentenced to 12 Months in prison suspended for 2 years and must carry out 200 hours community service over 12 months. David Birdsall was sentenced to 9 Months in prison suspended for 2 years and must complete 150 hours community service over 12 months.

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Caravan tax petition

Caravan industry under threat Credit: Calendar News

Hull North MP Diana Johnson will be launching a House of Commons petition against the Caravan Tax this afternoon in Hull's Queen Victoria Square. Campaigners say Up to seven thousand jobs could go - the majority of them in our region - if the caravan tax is approved.

Diana Johnson said: "This Commons petition against the Caravan Tax is part of our cross-party campaign to persuade Ministers to think again about this unfair and destructive Tax.

Although the votes of Lib Dem MPs gave the Government a slender 25 Commons majority for the Tax last week, it's vital that we use every means at our disposal to register local opposition to this Tax."

Hull and East Riding MPs are be working on a cross-party basis to collect names for the petition against the Caravan Tax around East Yorkshire and through local caravan firms.

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