Get Britain Building rues missed opportunity on VAT

Published:  15 December, 2009

LONDON: The Chancellor has missed a golden opportunity to offer the UK construction industry a much needed end of year boost with his refusal not to change VAT on residential refurbishment – says the Get Britain Building (GBB) campaign – following the Pre Budget Report.

Get Britain Building is a pan-construction industry campaign determined to get Government – this or the next, regardless of party – to recognise the value of the sector to the nation and to use it to rebuild the UK economy.

GBB has been campaigning for a cut in VAT to 5% on domestic works that include an element of ‘consequential improvements’ which deliver sustainability benefits. Such an initiative would not only generate activity in the domestic RMI environment, it would serve to improve the property asset base of the UK and assist the Government in meeting its challenging 2020 and 2050 carbon reduction commitments.

The campaign also believes that not only would the VAT reduction measure be, at least, cost-neutral but also revenue-positive through the increased activity and by bringing more contractors into the formal economy. It is currently undertaking in-depth costing research to reinforce this contention.

Chris Pateman, GBB spokesperson and managing director of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “Yet again the Government has spurned an opportunity to offer a fillip to one of the UK’s most important industries. The UK construction industry is well set to be the motor of economic recovery, yet Government seems oblivious to the wealth creation opportunities it provides. A reduction in VAT to 5% would provide a huge incentive and offer up a more promising outlook for 2010.

“Strategic investment in infrastructure – such as realising the green potential of existing UK housing stock – is just one way we can drag ourselves up by our bootstraps, and one which can only benefit the Treasury from the get-go,” concluded Mr Pateman.

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