Commenting on the recommendation in today’s final report of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission , Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Brian Berry said: “I am glad the Commission has highlighted the perverse situation where people are incentivised to demolish old buildings, rather than restoring them, due to our archaic VAT regime, which puts a zero-rating on new build but charges 20% for repair and maintenance. If we want to restore and maintain our beautiful heritage it is vital we correct this anomaly in the tax system.”

Berry added: “The FMB has been calling for a Cut to VAT for many years, but the time really has come to make the cut. With the UK leaving the EU tomorrow we will have far more flexibility over our VAT policy, and this should be right of the top of the UK’s post-Brexit wish list. The clock is also ticking on reaching net zero by 2050 and a cut to VAT will help achieve this. The Commission rightly pick up on the FMB’s research which found that a cut to VAT would lead to a reduction in CO2 of 240,000 tonnes across 92,000 home.”

Berry concluded: “Our only critique of the report's recommendation is that it doesn’t go far enough. The Treasury should cut VAT on all domestic repair and renovation, not just the areas listed in the report. The upcoming Budget provides the perfect opportunity to do this, and to help make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.”

Notes to editors

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the largest trade association in the UK construction industry representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, the FMB is independent and non-profit making, lobbying for members’ interests at both the national and local level.

The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members, providing a range of modern and relevant business building services to help them succeed. The FMB is committed to raising quality in the construction industry and offers a free Find a Builder service to consumers. 

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