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Hague calls for rural VAT help

Leader of the opposition William Hague today demanded VAT refunds to help businesses hit by foot and mouth.

Prime minister Tony Blair has already begun implementing a £25m scheme to bail out companies with cash crises.

But Hague called for interest free government loans totalling £500m to be made available for troubled businesses such as shops, restaurants, and hotels.

Speaking in Gloucester, Hague said: ‘I am calling on the government to take other steps to ease the cash flow of businesses suffering the knock on effects of the foot and mouth crisis.’

Hague also called for the prime minister to instruct Customs & Excise to speed up VAT refunds and make an immediate refund of one month?s average VAT liabilities to affected businesses.

And, according to the Conservative leader, the Inland Revenue should accept applications for reduced tax payments on accounts for farms and tourist businesses whose profits have tumbled as a result of the crisis.

He also said the army should be put in charge of the battle against the epidemic, though later an army chief claimed it was right that it was a Maff led operation.


Rural firms facing threat to fees

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