Bringing the message to MPs.

Future MPs must Get Britain Building, says coalition

Published:  22 March, 2010

UK: The Get Britain Building coalition is stepping up its campaign. It is challenging all prospective parliamentary candidates to use the building industry as the engine to revive the UK economy.

Because it is likely that there will be a larger intake of new MPs than ever before, the coalition's 2010 General Election Manifesto, announced last week, has been sent to every prospective parliamentary candidate.

The four-page, four-colour document has "easy-for-MPs-to-grasp facts and figures underlining the significance of the UK construction industry to the country's economic and social well-being," said Get Britain Building spokesman Mike Leonard.

Foremost among the policy points posited by GBB is that the single most important commitment on which the new Government should focus is "consequential improvements' to 'de-carbonise' existing housing. The easiest route to accomplish this would be to selectively reduce VAT on home improvements where specific actions to take carbon out of the building envelope are completed," said Mr Leonard.

A 5% VAT rate already exists for fuel and some energy saving measures. Extending this to home improvement will encourage both private and public homeowners to invest in ways to use less energy use energy more efficiently or obtain energy from renewable sources – at the same time as altering, extending or renovating homes.

Such a policy would ensure spending is targeted effectively, going where intended, by offering maximum encouragement to voters to invest to bring properties up to modern standards. Such investment will continue to pay dividends for generations to come and over the lifetime of a building.

The recent Cut the VAT report – The Opportunities and Costs of Cutting VAT: The effects of selected reductions in the rate of VAT on the labour element of housing repair, maintenance and improvement – has already indentified the key benefits that such a cut would accrue on the labour on projects alone.

These include the creation of 55 000 new jobs in the first year of a VAT cut; the freeing up of £450m a year for renovations on social housing; the bringing back in to use of 19,000 social houses back into use each year; and a reduction in housing carbon emissions of up to 337 000 tonnes.

"The Get Britain Building 2010 Manifesto sits perfectly with the needs and benefits of investment in construction; the availability of funding; the delivery of sustainability measures in housing and the requirement to create employment and improve skills," said Mr Leonard. "It is a 'must read' for any would-be politician at this critical time for suppliers, merchants and contractors."

To view it for yourself, visit the dedicated website.

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