Top-end tackle prices threatened by VAT rise

Buy now or pay later. That’s the message AT is issuing this week with prices of key tackle items set to rise on January 1 as a direct result of the Government returning the VAT rate to 17.5 per cent.

Although many within the trade insist retail prices will remain static, others say increases are unavoidable. Maver, one of the world’s biggest pole producers, has admitted that this imminent development will see a hike of up to £100 on its Competition range of poles.

However, the Redditch-based company is keen to point out that these are the only items in its range to be affected by this price rise.

Other companies, such as Fox International, have come out and stated that the rise in VAT will not alter its prices. Fox’s commercial director Paul Reeves explained: “No-one likes to see price rises, and this is a difficult subject to comment on. But I would encourage people to go out and purchase now, before any proposed increases in VAT are put into place. The 15 per cent VAT rate proved a bit of a red herring and was no help at all for the angling industry. The average angler only spends around £20 so any change was negligible”.

But because the initial VAT decrease was not passed on in our local tackle shops in the first place it seems highly unlikely that any move in the opposite direction will have much tangible effect.

This point was reiterated by Chapman’s and Glasgow Angling Centre boss Paul Devlin.

“VAT will undoubtedly go back up to 17.5 per cent, although this should have little, if any, effect on next year’s pricing. I would be very surprised if there are further increases as speculated because this would prove even more chaotic for the retail sector who would really struggle to re-price products and re-print all their catalogues”.

But the fears of another VAT increase later in 2010 are escalating due to the obvious threat that at some point in the near future, whichever government is in power, will again raise the rate in
an attempt to recoup lost revenue.

The majority of our European neighbours already have VAT rates running at around 20 per cent, with some of the Scandinavian countries as high as 25 per cent.

It seems inevitable, then, that VAT will be further increased during the next 18 months so if you are looking to make a purchase on an expensive item, AT advises you to make it before January 1, 2010.