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Falling On Deaf Ears

October 29, 2014

Visitors to the MYTTV website this week will see that the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) has submitted its position on issues as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s request for views on subjects to include in his Autumn Statement.

This yearly procedure brings forth the usual demands for the Treasury to be more imaginative in its approach to stimulating growth and activity. Coming after the deepest and most prolonged recession in living memory, there is a feeling of ensuring what recovery there is, should be truly sustainable.

In his response, Nigel Rees, GGF Chief Executive, has focused on three main areas:

  • The lack of government led incentives for homeowners to install energy efficient windows following the ‘ineffectiveness and slow uptake’ of the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
  • The inequality of VAT rates affecting energy efficient glazing. Most energy saving products enjoy a 5% rate of VAT, yet energy efficient glass and glazing products have a 20% rate of VAT.
  • The red tape that is slowing down growth in the conservatory sector since the government transferred ownership of private sewers and lateral drains to water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.

The second point has been pushed and pushed by the GGF but has fallen on deaf ears but one supposes, has still to be made. The facts would seem to be blindingly obvious and the GGF points out that should VAT be reduced to 5%, the economic benefits spread far wider than just affecting the fenestration sector.

A recent report by Experian stated that cutting the 20% rate to 5% could boost the UK economy by more than £15 billion from 2015 to 2020. It argues that there is a direct gain for the Exchequer with the creation of more than 95,000 jobs as well as a saving of 240,000 tonnes of CO2 from thousands of homes.

When it comes to the Green Deal, we all know the tremendous sense of disappointment that what was a good idea in principle, was so abysmally handled by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

It should be pointed out that the GGF is not the only trade association to be trying to get the attention of George Osborne. The usual suspects, like the Federation of Master Builders, British Woodworking Federation et al, will be pushing for pre-eminently reasonable policies to be adopted.

However, one wonders at times, could a reverse argument be put into effect? Why couldn’t all the relevant bodies come together and boycott the call for views and say it is a waste of time? Let’s be honest – Osborne and his buddies in Cabinet have made up their minds by now. The most likely proposal by the GGF could be point three (above) on conservatories and that is because it would not cost the Treasury a penny.

No? If there is one thing vainglorious politicians cannot stand, it is being ignored and if it comes from respected trade associations and others, it might make more of an impact than proposals gathering dust in some Treasury mandarin’s ‘In’ tray’.

Michael Gannon

Editor

MyTradeTV

Caption            He’s talking but is he listening? The GGF wishes he would do more of the latter. Our image shows Chancellor George Osborne, on a recent visit to Clacton based hardware manufacturer, Nico, talking to two apprentices, Tom Brice and Sam Seago, in the tool room.

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