The debate on the 2016 budget enters its final day today and at the end of the day will come the votes on whether to approve or amend the budget. I have signed two amendments\; one to prevent the imposition of VAT on insulation, solar panels and other energy saving materials and one to prevent the imposition of VAT on women’s sanitary products. The current expectation is that the government will accept these amendments. Whilst it seems the Prime Minister has persuaded the rest of the EU to allow member states the freedom to set their own VAT rates on women’s sanitary products I am not aware any such agreement has been reached on insulation products. It remains to be seen how the government will actually implement zero rating of these products and more importantly what the European Union does about a member state having the audacity to show some independence. With the referendum three months away I doubt very much the European Union will do anything at the moment!
Yesterday evening I attended a reception hosted by the Prime Minister at 10, Downing Street to thank some of those who had helped respond to the flooding which occurred following the storms in December and January.