VAT changes approved despite biggest rebellion since fees row

THE CONTROVERSIAL VAT hikes outlined in the Budget were yesterday approved by parliamentary vote despite prompting the second largest rebellion of the coalition government.

The introduction of VAT on hot takeaway food, alterations to listed buildings and static caravans was approved after Labour called a vote on the issues, but the latter prompted the largest MP rebellion since the tuition fees vote in December 2010.

16 Conservative MPs and one Liberal Democrat MP voted against the caravan tax while a further 14 abstained, cutting the government’s majority to just 25.

The government retained a majority of 35 on the so-called “pasty tax” vote when nine Tories and four Lib Dems voted out of line with their parties. A further 11 Conservative and seven Liberal Democrat MPs declined to vote.

14 Tory MPs rebelled on the listed building VAT vote, joined by 14 Tories and five Lib Dems who abstained.

Philip Hollobone and Anne Main were the only Tory MPs to defy the party whip on all three votes.