Having moaned about the overkill we have suffered already from the General Election campaigning, it might be perverse to return to analysing the latest news from one of the political parties.
This is especially so when we come to the Green Party, not because many of its policies have been adopted, if not wholeheartedly or sincerely by the Big Boys, but because many will feel that the pledge will not be realistically achieved.
The Greens are saying that they committed to cutting VAT from 20% to 5% on repairs and renovations. “This VAT cut would be a real boost for green jobs and warm homes,” stated Tom Chance, Green Party housing spokesperson. “It comes at a time when we desperately need to be investing in a nationwide home insulation scheme, to cut bills and end the scandal of fuel poverty. This [General] Election presents Britain with a chance to vote for change. This VAT cut, just one of an array of bold policies from the Green Party, demonstrates our commitment to building a Britain of warm, comfortable homes.”
Fine words – they are in harmony with the long held belief by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) in respect to replacing old units with energy efficient windows and doors.
The Greens are also in accord with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) which with the GGF and others, are backing the Cut the VAT Campaign Coalition, an alliance of more than 60 charities, trade associations, business groups and financial institutions that are urging all mainstream political parties to include a 2015 General Election manifesto commitment to a 15% cut in this tax.
According to ‘independent’ research by Experian, a cut in VAT on housing renovation and repair could provide a’ huge economic stimulus of more than £15 billion over the five-year period to 2020. This VAT reduction could also create more than 42,000 extra full-time equivalent construction jobs and an additional 53,000 jobs in the wider economy by the end of this period.’
This may seem pie-in-the-sky but the Experian report states that 12 European Union (EU) member states are already applying a reduced rate of VAT on work that reduces carbon emissions and results in a warmer and better housing stock.
But I am a cynical hack. Unless the Greens actually enter a coalition government – in other words, where the major political party that will lead another administration that relies on their support – there is precious little likelihood of this admirable goal being part of policy.
Caption The Cut the VAT campaign has the backing of the GGF and FMB as well as the Green Party but has yet to convince the major political parties.