VAT on home improvements should be cut to support retrofit

Green Party Executive Member for Housing, Councillor Denise Craghill, has welcomed calls by the party’s national finance spokesperson Professor Molly Scott Cato for VAT cuts for certain home improvements as City of York Council pushes ahead with investment in Green homes.

Molly Scott Cato in calling for a VAT reduction to 5% for projects that would substantially reduce carbon emissions and improve insulation of homes.

Councillor Craghill said,

“A green home refurbishment programmes is just one of those things that makes sense. We know there is a climate crisis and the challenges of the last twelve months mean we are now facing an employment and skills crisis.

“The Government investment we are talking about will make tens of thousands of homes across the country cheaper to live in and less damaging to the environment. It would also create thousands of good quality, stable jobs at a time when we need to help get people back into work.

A council report [1] is being presented on Thursday on City of York’s retrofitting programme.

“York really is leading the way on investing in making improvements to social housing stock.

“We are progressing our £1m investment in a ‘fabric first’ approach to bring 60 council homes up to EPC C standard. We have also secured £535,000 as leaders of a consortium bid with Harrogate, Selby and Craven councils to fund insulation measures for rooms in roofs and are now working on a further substantial bid for similar work for both private and council housing.

“A broader retrofit strategy for the council and the city is also being developed. All this work would benefit greatly from a reduction in VAT on energy efficiency products and help to support local companies starting to do this work.”

Molly Scott Cato, a former MEP, said:

“The construction industry currently produces 40% of our total emissions, yet current VAT regimes benefit new builds over refurbishments, and this has got to change. [2]

“During a climate crisis, we need to incentivise the most effective ways to reduce emissions and provide everybody with a warm secure home.”

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