The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has lobbied successfully with the VAT coalition for an EU agreement which will allow VAT to be reduced from fifteen to five percent on all home maintenance and repairs.
The decision to allow EU Member States to lower VAT to five percent on some goods and services including home maintenance and refurbishment was taken yesterday by European Finance Ministers. It has been one of the key issues lobbied on consistently by the Institute, helping architects survive the recession through the generation of more work, enabling the Government to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, as well as benefitting millions of UK homeowners by assisting those who cannot afford vital repairs to their homes.
RIBA President Sunand Prasad, said:
"This announcement is potentially excellent news marking a significant step forward in our campaign to cut remissions and help the profession and the industry work through the recession, while also reducing fuel poverty.
The economic situation is worsening by the day and is having a profound impact on architects who are the hardest hit of the professions. Architects can have a real role in this work, working with homeowners and housing associations on how to refurbish their homes. There needs to be a large refurbishment programme to tackle climate change and there is no better time to do this than now. The RIBA is committed to doing what it can to mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis on architects.
The UK government has announced plans to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and if the UK reduces VAT on emissions it will help us achieve this aim. It will make energy efficient repairs and maintenance more affordable, so that the 75 percent of buildings here today which will still be standing in 2050.
We urge the Government to reduce VAT on refurbishment immediately. The Government has released its Heat & Energy strategy consultation which looks at how homeowners will retrofit their homes. A reduction in VAT would make this more of a reality in persuading home owners to take action. "