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Scotland’s Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP has called for the UK Government to reduce to 5% the VAT that requires to be charged when existing buildings are repaired, maintained or improved.

In a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP, Mr Stewart set out the benefits the reduction would bring to the sector to support its recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mr Stewart said:

“It is at the request of industry that I have urged the Chancellor MP to reconsider this vitally important matter with a view to delivering the stimulus such a VAT reduction would provide.

“Many industry partners have commented that this is probably the single most significant change that could support recovery in the domestic construction sector.”

Patricia Gibson MP added:

“I have called for this change, as have SNP colleagues, for years, given the boost it would deliver to jobs and investment.

“The exceptional circumstances faced by the construction industry as a result of the pandemic has brought this issue to the fore once again.

“A similar initiative in France delivered such a boost to the industry that the VAT cut was soon recouped in additional taxes, with a considerable boost to the built environment and a dramatic reduction in the number of dilapidated properties which it hitherto been deemed too expensive to repair.”

Head of UK Government Relations and City Strategy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Hew Edgar commented:

“RICS fully endorses this call from the SNP Government and have long been advocating for a change to the VAT regime to stimulate the repair, maintenance and enhancement of existing property as part of a build back greener approach to construction.”


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