As a small architectural practice of some 37 years in business I wish to emphasise the importance to the country’s economy that is contributed to by the many ten’s of thousands of small to medium sized building projects that are carried out each year in our field of work.


With the current economic downturn in the economy it is not possible for people to buy and sell houses to meet their particular requirements of family life. However the opportunity to expand their existing property is now a serious option to consider as it is much more of an economic possibility as it is not dependant on the housing market status.


Thus there is massive potential for a value-added market waiting to move forward, but it is completely frustrated by the penalty of a 17.5% (in January it will be 20%) VAT surcharge on all building works to existing properties.


The previous Government was vigorously selling the concept of reduction of the carbon footprint of new buildings, suggesting that the family home was one of the major contributors to this problem. They insisted that it was essential for old properties to improve their efficiency in ‘U’ value performance to reduce the carbon footprint. On reviewing the VAT guideline on Buildings and Construction it is noted that any improvement to existing fabric such as windows, doors and walls with insulation could be eligible to 5% VAT. Ironically any NEW component or extension, which was fully compliant with to the new ‘U’ values would not enjoy the 5% VAT incentive. Another of Gordon Brown’s devious ideas or smoke and mirror dishonest incentive!


I would ask that all works to existing properties whether for upgrading or for additional accommodation, which will improve the ‘U’ value efficiency be eligible for the 5% VAT.

This adjustment would have an enormous impact on the Treasury Revenue income and would give rise to reducing the numbers of unemployed tradesmen in the building industry and add a great deal of added value to the Nation’s economy.


Our trades and local industries need to be encouraged to grow or else these skills will be lost in future generations.


This will also stimulate the economy from the ground up – as a flurry of activity in the construction sector will increase confidence, allowing money to circulate again. With interest rates at such a low level, does it not make sense for individuals to re-direct their savings into bricks and mortar as an investment while also improving their quality of life?


Activity in the building industry should be embraced and not stifled.

Why is this idea important?

Because it is valued added wealth to the Nation's overall economy. For once we are producing somthing at home and not being reliant on manufacured items imported from the far East. This idea is vitally important for the almost non existant workshops of Britain. Remeber Britain once was the workshop of the world so let us returnn to an economy that can make its own wealth once more.

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