UK Government Stands Firm on No VAT Exemption for Building Repairs and Maintenance

On 19th April 2023 Lord Swire tabled a question in the UK House of Lords on VAT equalisation for repairs and maintenance. This question has particular relevance for the future conservation and re-use of industrial heritage buildings. Lord Swire received support from across the house, including from Arts and Heritage APPG Chair Lord Cormack, and from Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb representing the Green lobby.

Supplementary questions pointed to the carbon cost of demolition, the burdens on social housing providers, and the impact on rural Churches. The Treasury Lords Minister Baroness Penn responded that the Government had no plans to reassess the VAT regime and pointed to existing rate reductions on vacant buildings and certain materials, as well as Government funding schemes for heritage.

The minister claimed that VAT reform would carry a significant fiscal cost and pointed out that the current regime was designed to incentivise the construction of new homes. You can watch a recording of the relevant Parliamentary session here.

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