Changes to VAT

I note that John Black (Letters, 3 January) would like to see the Scottish Government “remove the iniquity of the VAT system whereby a new-build in a field on the edge of town is publicly subsidised by being excused VAT while the repair of an existing building is burdened with the full 20 per cent”.

While this may not be an acceptable situation, there is nothing Holyrood can do about it in terms of indirect taxation. VAT is a tax which is part of the UK tax system that is reserved to Westminster, but is prima facie governed by the Sixth VAT Directive.

Even as a new member state, it is debatable whether Scotland could make any meaningful change to VAT on the refurbishment supplies relating to existing buildings in town centres.

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I am afraid, however, in general terms any change to the VAT system would demand a Yes vote.

Shirley Seaton

Eskmill Villas

Musselburgh