VAT-cut vote can create jobs, claims campaigner
Members of the European Parliament have voted by a majority of more than 600 in favour of reduced rates of VAT for building repair and maintenance work, sending a strong message to the UK Government. The vote took place during a debate on European Commission plans to increase the range of goods and services that can use reduced VAT rates. The aim of the VAT cut is to kick-start the European economy and create jobs. UK MEPs from all political par ties voted for reduced rates of VAT for building repair and maintenance work. Cut the VAT Coalition co-ordinator Richard Hyslop said: “This is fantastic news. The European Parliament has joined forces with the European Commission to send out a very strong message to the individual member states of the European Union, namely, that reduced rates of VAT for building repair and maintenance work will actually create jobs and help kick-star t the economies of Europe. “While we are delighted that MEPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a reduction in VAT, the European Parliament’s views are advisory and European finance ministers will have the final word.” Anna Scott-Marshall, from the Royal Institute of British Architects, said: “The UK Government needs to get serious about how they will achieve the target of cutting carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. “Reducing VAT to five per cent for all home improvement work would help make this a reality. It would enable homeowners to make those crucial changes to their homes, create jobs, par ticularly for small businesses, help reduce fuel pover ty and also help to rid the market of cowboy builders.” The commission is proposing that the period is indefinite and that member states incorporate additional labour-intensive or locally supplied services into the range of goods and services eligible for a reduction in VAT if there is no risk of distor ting the single European market.
For a trial period, Member States are also allowed to apply lower rates on cer tain labour-intensive services until 2010.
The Cut the VAT Coalition believes that reducing VAT from 17.5 per cent (15 per cent until January 2010) to five per cent for all maintenance and home improvement work would help the Government achieve its target of cutting carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. It would also benefit millions of UK homeowners by getting rid of cowboy builders, helping those who cannot afford vital repairs to their homes, bringing empty proper ties back into use and protecting the countryside. For more information on the coalition go to www.cutthevat.co.uk.