Following the ‘will they-won’they’ debacle over beach hut users getting any sort of refund for 2020, you may recall that we were promised a freeze on our licence fees for 2021. We were told this had been made possible by beach hut fees being included in the 15% reduction in VAT that the government introduced to help businesses through the pandemic. Whilst many felt this was poor compensation for the weeks of our huts being inaccessible, followed by the lack of toilets when we were allowed to use them. Invoices were sent out last week and, sure enough, the net figure we are being asked to pay as remained the same. However, after BCP’s budget for the year had been finalised, the Chancellor announced the 15% reduction in VAT was to be continued. Instead of passing this reduction on to beach hut users, BCP hiked up the base rate charge for our huts by 14%! Naturally, we challenged the council on this. Their initial response was to explain that they aren’t obliged to pass this reduction on to us, which we understand is true. They also assert that because they are only obliged to provide the site for our huts, they have done that and we aren’t entitled to any compensation for the time we couldn’t use them. We are aware that other councils round the country viewed this differently and have paid refunds. We have told BCP how strongly beach hut users feel about this. However, at the time of typing, they have not responded to our email sent on 11 March. We work really hard to get fair treatment on your behalf, but we need you to back us up with this. Please don’t leave it to everyone else. Thank you.