So why, when it makes so much sense, aren’t we charging VAT at 5% on RMI work? asks Lafarge Cement’s Bill Price.
Whilst the housing market remains depressed, many homeowners may well opt to improve their property rather than to move house.
However, most people’s resources are still stretched and any incentives to persuade them that now is the time to renovate, refurbish or repair their property would be welcome. With energy bills expected to continue their relentless rise this year, measures to improve insulation and minimise heat loss would seem like a good investment. But what will act as the trigger for action?
Buildersmerchantsjournal.net has already featured the views of the Federation of Master Builders that reducing VAT on housing renovation and repair could provide the necessary impetus.
Alongside reducing the financial burden on the home owner and stimulating the market, this could also tilt the balance back towards responsible builders and away from the ‘dodgy’ end of the business, where cash payment is always expected and even builders with a number of projects on the go are (mysteriously) not registered for VAT.
Minimising the number of complaints about builders and restoring confidence in the quality of British builders may also help people to take the plunge and start on that delayed refurbishment project.
British builders are as capable as anyone else in Europe of delivering high quality work, on time, and within budget. Unfortunately a few ‘rogues’ give the whole industry a poor image and increase the reluctance of homeowners to part with their hard earned money for new projects.
Materials suppliers, such as Lafarge Tarmac (the newly formed joint venture between Lafarge and Tarmac in the UK), would of course welcome any measures that gets the market moving again.
We are all aware of the current economic constraints and the fact that there is a pent up demand for new housing, we just need something to open the flood gates (not perhaps the best meteorological metaphor at the moment, but you know what I mean).
So, as Mr Punch would have said, maybe “VATs the way to do it!”.
Bill Price is National Commercial Technical Manager for Lafarge Cement UK
Follow him on Twitter: @ConcreteDrBill