RAVAS has been contacted by Derek Jarman, director of Hayloft Plants Ltd, a nursery that sells new and unusual plants in the vale of Evesham. Mr Jarman has revealed how the Horticultural industry has been exploiting LVCR to a huge degree since LVCR was first introduced in 1983. Mr Jarman paid £400,000 in VAT over the course of last year and in an interview for an article in The Telegraph Online he revealed that companies 20 times his size are operating out of the Channel Islands paying no VAT on goods under the value of £18.
He went on to say:
“As a businessman I congratulate these companies on being entrepreneurial. As a person who is conscious about the environment, I am seriously concerned about the amount of fossil fuel which is being used to take garden plants from mainland UK to the Channel Islands to be packed and then sent back immediately to mainland UK consumers…… The annual loss of VAT would fund many nurses, teachers and civil servants – the very hardworking people who are currently losing their jobs as the Government is short of money.”
The Telegraph article highlights how during peak season from March to June, it is not uncommon for 40ft articulated lorries carrying up to 42 trolleys of plants to board the twice daily ferries to Jersey and Guernsey. The goods are then unloaded in packing sheds, repackaged and sent back to UK consumers or kept in greenhouses until ready for sale.
Thompson & Morgan turned over £40 million last year from their premises in Guernsey whilst John Fothergill of Mr Fothergills, one of the handful of large horticultural companies with packing sheds operating out of neighbouring Jersey, admitted to The Telegraph that the company was based there purely for tax reasons.
“To be blunt we are here for the VAT benefit and we would have to rethink things if this changes.”