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The Institute of Historic Building Conservation, the UK’s professional body for built and historic conservation specialists, has helped fund updated research into the benefits of VAT relief for housing repairs, in partnership with lead bodies from the Cut the Vat Campaign, and with the report launched at a parliamentary reception at Westminster on 3 March.
The report, by Experian, is entitled ‘An estimate of the effects of a reduction in the rate of VAT on housing renovation and repair work: 2015 to 2020’, and highlights key benefits and opportunities to business and the environment to arise from implementing this VAT relief strategy.
Speakers at the parliamentary launch of the report included Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance; Mark Pawsey MP (Con, Rugby), member of the communities and local government select committee, Gordon Birtwistle MP (Lib Dem, Burnley), Chair of the Lib Dem Parliamentary Party Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills and apprenticeship ambassador to business, and Andy Sawford MP (Lab Co-Op, Corby), shadow communities and local government minister.
Mike Brown, Chair of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, commented on the heritage dimensions to the report as follows: ‘The care and maintenance of our heritage buildings is often crafts-based and, as such, labour intensive, so a reduction in VAT will help support those skills and thousands of jobs across the sector. The case for the reduction in VAT is particularly important in making the difference between a historic building being saved or being unviable.’
Mike Brown added: ‘On top of that, more affordable day to day care and maintenance would help save countless older buildings from the destructive and costly cycle of decay and restoration, allowing diminishing resource to be directed towards delivering better informed energy conservation measures, compatible with the fabric of the building.’
Sarah McConigle of the FMB said: ‘A big thanks to all those who attended the launch of the Cut the VAT Campaign’s new independent research report last night. We had an excellent turnout and there were some extremely positive remarks from our political speakers. A special thanks goes to Loyd Grossman for his impassioned speech on behalf of the campaign coalition – Loyd did an excellent job of making the case for a reduction in VAT in front of the policy makers.’
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