Garden centre welcomes end of tax loophole on mail order

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 THE manager of a Bicester garden centre says the closing of a tax loophole will be good for the environment, and for gardeners.

Manager of Bicester Avenue Garden Centre Adrian Drake has welcomed the Treasury’s decision to close the mail order loophole that meant people could avoid paying VAT on goods sent from the Channel Islands.

He said: “The anomaly was putting independent retailers out of business and costing £140 million a year in lost tax receipts.

“But not only was it wrecking businesses and revenue, it was also eco-unfriendly.

“The extra transportation of these plants inevitably has an effect on their health and longevity, and also adds hundreds of additional plant miles to their lives, which is not environmentally sound.

“Consumers have no idea how far their plants travel.”

From next April, the VAT waiver known as low-value consignment relief (LVCR) will no longer apply to goods sent from the Channel Islands.

Mr Drake said: “Many plants are shipped from nurseries on the mainland to the Channel Islands to take advantage of the VAT loophole and then shipped back to gardeners who ordered them by mail order from the mainland.

“The closure of the loophole means that many of the best nurseries in the country can now operate from a level playing field and customers will receive a better quality of plant. This is good for English nurseries, employment and gardeners.”

Bicester Avenue Garden Centre is on Oxford Road, just off Junction 9 of the M40 at Bicester. Call 01869 242248 or visit www.bicestergardencentre.co.uk