A taxing question for householders

Obstinacy in a bad cause, is but constancy in a good

Hmm. Part L. Not sure about that at all.

In particular what I’m not sure about is this proposed requirement for anyone building an extension to automatically be required to improve the energy efficiency in the rest of the property.

On paper, I suppose, it seems a reasonable idea – as a way of ensuring that properties are made as energy efficient as possible. After all, we all understand the need to reduce our energy consumption, our energy costs our reliance on fossil fuel..yada,yada,yada.

But is forcing people to do it necessarily the right way to go about it?

The Modern Masonry Alliance is quite sure that it isn’t, with director Mike Leonard calling it a “109% tax on extensions”.

The industry has been in such a mess over the last few years. What we need are ways of encouraging people to invest in their homes. Not more ways of putting obstacles in their way.

I know it’s only proposed at the moment and that such a measure has been suggested – and then rejected – in the past. Along with all the confusion surrounding the Green Deal – no matter what Greg Barker announced today, I still don’t believe that everything will be in place for a proper, full-on October launch – this is just one more way of stopping people from doing what the industry so desperately needs them to do. Spend money in the RMI market.

It probably wouldn’t put off those who are determined to build and extension I suppose, but it on top of the increases in various council charges for building regs permission in the first place, it might put off the waverers. Especially if the ways of improving the efficiency in the rest of the property turns out to be more costly that first thought.

The of course there’s the fact that the work to improve the efficiency attracts the full whack of VAT at 20%. Don’t even get me started on the lack of logic in charging householders 5% on energy but 20% on the work installing products that ensure that the house uses less of it.

The usual government mess, I’d say.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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