Brett Amplett and Ed Balls at the Labour Party Conference yesterday.

Balls pledges Labour's support for 5% VAT on RMI

Published:  30 September, 2011

LIVERPOOL: The Shadow Chancellor's pledge to support an immediate one year cut in VAT to 5% on home repair, maintenance and improvement work has been welcomed by the Builders' Merchants Federation.

Ed Balls MP told his Party Conference this week that a 5% rate for RMI is part of Labour's 'Five-Point Plan' to support the economy and create jobs in Britain.

Speaking outside the conference centre in Liverpool, Brett Amphlett, the BMF's policy manager, said: "Builders merchants and their customers will welcome today's announcement. We want the return of a thriving RMI market to revitalise local economies. BMF members believe there is demand in many districts that is being held back by economic uncertainty and consumers' unwillingness to spend.

"The BMF is a prime mover behind the 'Get Britain Building' campaign that makes the case for lower VAT on residential RMI work – especially to improve the energy and thermal performance of existing homes. We firmly support the widely-held view that a lower rate of VAT is the right incentive to entice voters to commission SME builders and allied trades to carry out such work".

Later on in the day of his speech, the Shadow Chancellor found time to talk to the BMF in more detail. Mr Amphlet was given time to outline how building materials' distribution is adapting as those in SME construction continue to struggle.

Mr Amphlett thanked Ed Balls for taking up and endorsing the 5% cause, adding afterwards. "Last week, the Daily Telegraph reported that the Government is considering cutting VAT for home improvements as part of a wider economic growth package to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Let's hope that Mr Balls' support for our campaign forces the issue further up the political and economic pecking order. We wait to hear from George Osborne MP in Manchester next week," Mr Amphlett commented.

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