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Cut VAT: Save heritage and boost economy, says report

A new report has calculated that slashing VAT on housing renovation and repair work could boost the UK economy by £15billion and help save the nation’s heritage

The independent research, commissioned by Experian, modelled the impact of cutting VAT from 20 per cent down to 5 per cent over a five-year period (2015 – 2020) on the labour element of all housing renovation and repair work.

As well as acting as a catalyst to kick start new building work which the report estimated would create 95,000 jobs, Mike Brown, chair of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, said the reduction would help save historic buildings that would otherwise be left to rot.

‘The care and maintenance of our heritage buildings is often crafts-based and, as such, labour intensive, so a reduction in VAT will help support those skills and thousands of jobs across the sector,’ said Brown.

‘The case for the reduction in VAT is particularly important in making the difference between a historic building being saved or being unviable,’ he added.

In February TV personality Lloyd Grossman, who is chair of the Heritage Alliance, told the AJ: ‘Our country is celebrated for the richness and beauty of its built heritage, so it verges on crazy to have a VAT regime which discriminates in favour of new building and against the repair, maintenance, adaptation of older buildings [normal 20 per cent tax rate].’

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