The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has urged the government to eliminate or significantly reduce the rate of VAT for retrofit work on existing homes.
The BMF’s held a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons last week, which focused on the delivery of low carbon retrofit. BMF members and industry partners met with MPs and members of the House of Lords to showcase solutions to upgrade the existing housing stock as well as to create low carbon new homes.
During the reception, BMF’s CEO John Newcomb called on the government to remove VAT, or reduce it significantly to under 5%, for retrofit work on existing homes up to a ceiling of £30,000 to provide a kickstart.
In terms of energy efficiency our homes are amongst the worst in Europe. They use 35% of all the energy in the UK and emit 20% of the carbon dioxide emissions. Twenty eight million older homes need upgrading to achieve net zero carbon emissions.
Last winter’s soaring energy bills focused attention on the energy we waste. It’s a shocking fact, but in many older properties we are paying to generate heat that doesn’t warm our homes, but “leaks out” through poorly insulated, windows, walls, roofs and floors.
The BMF has long supported a National Retrofit Strategy to enable the delivery of housing retrofit across the UK and is a founder supporter of the National Retrofit Hub. The Hub is helping all stakeholders – including government – understand their role in delivering low carbon homes, which is likely to be a 20 year programme of work.
With the right support and incentives, retrofit offers one of the best opportunities to create new, meaningful jobs in every region and train thousands of new recruits to the industry, as well as making our homes warmer, greener and cheaper to run.
Its success will require long-term, cross-party commitment. But right now, a simple financial incentive will boost consumer confidence and provide the vital kick-start for the retrofit programme. Therefore, we are calling on the current government to eliminate or significantly reduce VAT to 0-5% for retrofit work on existing homes up to a ceiling of £30,000 to provide this kickstart.
This is the beginning of a long journey, but it is but it is one that we cannot afford to ignore.