During an event held in Parliament, Craig Mackinlay MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Listed Properties and Member of Parliament for South Thanet, called for VAT on listed building planning alterations to be reduced from 20% to 5%.
The event was hosted by the APPG in conjunction with the Listed Property Owners’ Club, with cross-party MPs and listed property owners from around the country in attendance to discuss and raise awareness of the complex issues which face listed property owners when trying to maintain their homes. With 500,000 listed buildings across the country – 98% of which are privately owned – and over 1,500 in South Thanet itself, this has become an issue of local and national significance.
Discussions were centred on the scale and inconsistency of regulations in place which make it difficult for listed property owners to obtain planning approval to repair or improve their home with a variety of interpretations for the same project noted from delegates from across the country. The challenge listed property owners face goes back to 2012 when the Government removed the 0% VAT concession on authorised alterations to listed buildings. Without the incentive of a zero rating the number of owners going through the long and complicated process of approval, particularly for interior and out of sight work, has fallen dramatically by 8.42% since the introduction of VAT at the standard rate. Repairs are usually more costly to listed properties in any event due to specialist materials and bespoke construction being required.
Speaking at the event, Mr Mackinlay put forward proposals for a new 5% VAT rate, arguing that it strikes a balance while helping to protect a major part of our nation’s heritage and giving a valuable boost to the construction industry, particularly the smaller specialist artisans working in this sector. This 5% rate could then be used to promote significant energy saving measures in private listed properties, which are often energy-inefficient.
The APPG has launched a national petition to call for this reduction in VAT, which has already received 5,000 signatures, with the hope to reach 10,000 in advance of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget. You can find the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/223075.
Craig Mackinlay MP commented:
“After hearing about the many calamitous stories experienced by listed property owners at this event and throughout my time as Chairman of the APPG, it is clear that the difficulties of owning a listed property are far-reaching.
“With the already overwhelming challenge posed by the vast amount of planning regulations on listed buildings, the 20% VAT increase has proved to be an unbearable burden for owners – many of whom are not the wealthy people they are widely believed to be.
“I would urge all listed property owners to sign our newly-launched petition, and call on all MPs to promote it to their constituents. With over 1.5 million owners spread across the UK on the front lines of protecting our nation’s historic fabric, this is an issue of national significance which threatens our country’s touristic appeal and heritage itself.
“I am delighted to see that this issue is gaining ground, and that many of my fellow MPs are supportive for such change which would prove revenue neutral to the Treasury because of increased activity.”