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DUP MP Carla Lockhart has urged the Government to ensure the European Union ‘get real’ and show respect for Northern Ireland business regarding the VAT margin scheme. The Upper Bann MP made the call after being contacted by several car dealerships in her constituency expressing concern at the impact of the scheme on the second-hand car industry.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has also written to HMRC highlighting the issue.

Carla Lockhart said:

“While we warned that the Protocol would leave businesses in Northern Ireland at a disadvantage, sadly the Government – backed by many local parties – chose to place us in this position. Day and daily we now see the potential consequences of the Protocol, whether it be in the aisles of local supermarkets or now, as has been highlighted, on forecourts of local car dealerships.

It is simply unacceptable that the EU force this anti-competitive, anti-business, anti-consumer regime upon the people of Northern Ireland. In relation to the local car industry, so many dealers bring second-hand cars in from auctions or through dealer networks in mainland UK. If the EU insist on this VAT regime being applied, it would drive car prices up by 20 per cent and in all likelihood lead to a suppression of the industry here.

I have raised this issue with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, who needs to take a firm line on this – a realistic line – to ensure this discriminatory regime is not imposed upon the local car industry and local motorists. The EU needs to get real about issues such as this, or the only things that can be concluded is that their intention is to destroy our economy, jobs and household incomes.”