In 2008 the campaign to cut VAT on building and maintenance work achieved many things and as the year ended we finally began to see light at the end of the tunnel. There is still much work to do, but feel that we enter 2009 in a far more positive position that in previous years. At the end of 2008 there was the brilliant news from Brussels that the European Council had reached political agreement on the issue of reduced VAT rates stating that they strongly supported, "the possibility, for the Member States that so wish, of applying reduced VAT rates in certain sectors: the European Council requests the ECOFIN Council to settle this issue by March 2009;" The next Ecofin meeting takes place on 20th January under the Presidency of the CzechRepublic.
It is not known if VAT will be on the agenda. When the issue does arise it is likely to be supported by the Ecofin Council as European Commissioner KovÃcs has had assurances from the Czech Finance Minister that they will support the decision made by the European Council.
As Gordon Brown supported the Cut in VAT (in principal) at the European Council meeting we can assume that Alistair Darling will also support it at the Ecofin Council meeting, we cannot however take anything for granted. It is therefore suggested that when we know for certain that the issue of VAT is on the agenda, that we write to Alistair Darling as we have done in the past, reminding him of the strong support for a cut in VAT and urging him to vote the right way.