Cut the VAT on housing repair and maintenance to protect our heritage, says LINDA FABIANI MSP
East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani has added her support to the campaign by the Cut the VAT Coalition to cut the VAT on housing repair, maintenance and improvement work to support employment in Scotland, tackle rogue traders and to protect our built heritage
Research by Experian, commissioned in December 2011 by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), found that a reduction in VAT to 5% on all home improvement work would create 2,103 new construction jobs in Scotland in 2012 alone, with figures in subsequent years suggesting that a total of 3,625 jobs could be created in the period to 2020 through incentivising home owners to repair and improve their homes. A lower rate of VAT would also help to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock, reduce the advantage of rogue traders and help remove the perverse incentive to demolish older properties rather than bring them back into use.
Despite all of this, the Government instead decided to surprise the construction and heritage sectors with a decision to remove the zero rate of VAT for approved alterations to listed buildings in the recent Budget announcements. This means that from 1 October 2012 the standard rate of VAT will apply to the alteration of a listed building, which is 20% more than the current rate. The impact will be significant in Scotland where there are around 47,600 listed buildings, totalling 1% of the nation’s total building stock.
Local MSP Linda Fabiani has pledged her support for the campaign and has urged the UK Government to cut the VAT on housing repair and improvement works to support employment in East Kilbride, tackle rogue traders, support the most vulnerable groups in our communities and to protect our built heritage.
“I am pleased to add my name in support of the Cut the VAT campaign, as I have supported this stand for many years now.
“Small and medium sized companies in East Kilbride are crucial to the local economy and would really benefit from a VAT reduction. The cut in VAT would also boost the campaign against rogue traders and poor quality housing”.
Grahame Barn, Director of FMB Scotland, added:
“This UK Government’s move to remove the zero rate VAT on alterations to listed buildings really is out of step with the industry’s wishes and the needs of the UK’s heritage buildings. The increase to 20% will prevent many from carrying out important improvement work to their properties, and will in turn put many more building firms at risk.
“If the Government is serious about supporting growth in the economy and cutting carbon it should focus on measures to encourage property owners to improve the UK’s existing buildings, and not do the opposite. The harmonisation of VAT at 5% for all housing repair, maintenance and improvement work would create jobs and reduce the competitive advantage of those operating in the informal economy. I hope all MSPs will support Kevin Stewart’s motion in the Scottish Parliament and help increase the pressure on the Chancellor to promote growth in this way.”
Note to editors
The Federation of Master Builders
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the UK’s largest trade association in the building industry, with national offices in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, supported by additional regional offices. Established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized building firms, the FMB is independent and non-profit-making, lobbying continuously for members’ interests at both national and local levels.
The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members, providing a range of modern and relevant business building services to save them time and money. The FMB also offers advice to consumers via its find a builder and check a builder websites.
For more information please visit: www.fmb.org.uk.
‘Cut the VAT’ Campaign
The Cut the VAT Campaign started with 21 varied organisations. Since work began, the EU has changed the law to allow member states to permanently reduce VAT to 5% on home repair, maintenance and improvement work in order to support economic growth. Support for the campaign now extends to over 50 organisations and countless individuals, including some very senior politicians and well-known celebrities.
Supporters believe that reducing VAT from 20% to 5% for all home improvement work would increase employment and help the Scottish Government to achieve its carbon emissions target. It would also benefit millions of homeowners by helping to eliminate rogue traders, helping those who cannot afford vital repairs to their homes, bringing empty properties back into use and protecting the countryside. Further information on the campaign can be found at www.cutthevat.co.uk.