The VAT Loophole web site has had a letter of support from Graham Jones who wrote the excellent and best selling book Last Shop Standing about the demise of the independent record retailer in the UK. It makes sobering reading.
As he says:
I have witnessed the misery this loophole has created. Family businesses, many who have been trading for years, are closing down, people are losing their homes, people are suffering nervous breakdowns, and in one case a customer of mine took his life so depressed was he about losing his businesses. Yet this should all have been avoided.
On so many occasions I have seen people come to the counter of a record shop, ask about a new CD – then telling the owner that they will order it off of Amazon or Play VAT free. Can you imagine how frustrating this is for the shop owners?
One of my customers had a man ask to see all the Fleetwood Mac CDs he had in stock. He had 8 different titles. The man took his mobile phone out and took a picture of each one. He then sent the pictures to his wife, telling her to order these CDs from Play.com as they are bound to be cheaper. The record shops just cannot compete in this unfair marketplace.
This is the human price of VAT abuse.
But it’s more than that. It’s about the destruction of competition, and jobs, and well being and society and High streets and communities.
Blame Jersey and Guernsey. Loud and clear.