RICS Calls For Cut in VAT on Home Improvements

THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has called for a cut in VAT on green home improvement products as part of a wishlist for this year’s budget.

The 2020 Budget, currently scheduled to be revealed on 11 March, will be delivered by newly-appointed Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, following Sajid Javid’s departure last week.

The wishlist also includes a commitment to sustained funding and financial incentives for retrofitting existing buildings to improve the sustainability of construction.

Hew Edgar, Head of UK Government Relations & City Strategy said, “RICS wants to see clear action to fix the host of challenges facing the built environment.

“This includes pragmatic, long term, solutions to the problems of housing supply and affordability, the UK’s ailing high streets and town centres, and mitigating the effects of climate change.”

The skills gap

Also on the list is support for industry in delivering the skills required for the UK’s building requirements.

Edgar puts the construction skills gap high on the list, with the organisation saying the UK needs to employ one new construction professional every 77 seconds to keep up with the UK’s housing and infrastructure requirements.

Edgar continued, “The Prime Minister has stated his intention to make ‘colossal new investments in infrastructure’.  While welcome, the UK construction sector is struggling to deal with a skills shortage and facing a retirement ‘cliff-edge’.

“The decision to include quantity surveyors in the UK Shortage Occupation List is a useful, and welcome approach; but the Government should look to support future home-grown talent, and as well as the diversification of the construction and infrastructure workforce.”

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