In the Netherlands, the VAT rate on fruit and vegetables will increase from 6% to 9%. Although this percentage is not very large, this does mean an increase of 50 percentage points. And this may well have consequences, according to a number of fruit and vegetables specialists.
And they also literally express that. On the 27th of November, a number of activists protested with fruit and vegetables at the Binnenhof, close to the government. The reason for this is not simple: “Well, it is an increase of 50%. This makes fruit and vegetables more expensive, so some people will buy less of these healthy produce, because they cannot afford it,” says one of the activists.
The activists consider the VAT increase to be in conflict with the government policy to strive for a healthier population, including the encouragement to eat healthier, amongst others. Although it is argued that the VAT increase is refunded by the annual income tax, the activists are convinced that the consumer does not consider this at the moment he/she in in their store.
The government does not want to make an exception for the VAT increase on fruit and vegetables. One of the reasons is that it is practically impossible to maintain a different VAT percentage for fruit and vegetables, mainly due to problems that arise with combined products.