Why is VAT levied on the maintenance and repair costs of homes, when building new buildings is zero-rated? There can be few more illogical taxes and few that so blatantly promote environmentally damaging behaviour over green behaviour. Hardly anybody even tries to defend it anymore. The government’s traditional response is they’d like to change it but they can’t because of European rules. Well yesterday that excuse disappeared.
ECOFIN TheEuropean Economic and Financial Affairs Council agreed to allow member states to reduce VAT on housing repair and maintenance. The ruling is a triumph for the Cut the VAT campaign lead by the Federation of Master Builders. The Empty Homes Agency is a supporter and active member of the campaign. Reduced VAT would make it more cost effective to bring thousands of empty homes back into use.
With their best excuse gone will the governemnt try and find another one or will they grasp the oppurtunity to reduce VAT? In my view it is the single most importatn thing they could do to tackle our empty homes crisis