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Scotland demands VAT cut on refurbishments

Holyrood has called on Whitehall to slash VAT on refurbishments from 20 per cent to 5 per cent

The Scottish Government’s culture secretary Fiona Hyslop made the demand ahead of a debate taking place today (10 November) on the importance of architecture and place-making to the country’s economy.

She said: ‘We need to be smarter about re-using existing buildings. Demolition is inherently expensive, and construction waste is estimated to make up one third of all landfill waste in the UK.

‘Restoration is a sustainable and viable option that uses fewer resources but provides more employment. For every pound spent, you could get twice as much local employment and use around half of the resources.

‘Refurbishment of older buildings and areas, especially those of heritage value, usually acts as a catalyst for wider regeneration. It also helps to foster traditional building skills.’

She added: ‘Reducing VAT to five per cent for building repair, refurbishment and maintenance work is a measure that is widely supported in Scotland and the UK Government needs to listen.

‘Such a move would also encourage owners and communities to invest in homes and neighbourhoods across the country, and provide added stimulus to the hugely important construction industry, one of the strongest sectors in Scotland today.

‘Whether old or new, well-designed places and buildings should be seen as an investment that adds value.’

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland secretary and treasurer Neil Baxter welcomed the announcement.

He said: ‘We have had many encouraging meetings with the Scottish Government on this. It has been on the agenda for a while and we hope the UK Government takes note.’

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