Monday, 26 September 2011


I didn't watch Ed Balls' much trailed speech at the Labour conference - I haven't watched any of them so far as I can't be bothered in truth - and with good reason, as epitomised by one of Balls' proposals to get the economy going, which according to the BBC, is:
Immediate one-year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements, repairs and maintenance
VAT is of course an EU tax, so any changes are subject to approval by our Brussels masters, and lo and behold a quick check shows that this policy was announced in 2009 with EU approval:

The UK is to be given the option to charge VAT on home maintenance and repairs at a reduced rate of 5%, after a ruling by European Union finance chiefs.

The ruling paves the way for the UK government to ease the tax burden on a construction industry badly hit by the recession – allowing architects, builders and surveyors to carry out private refurbishments for a cheaper rate.

Yesterday's decision by the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council to allow member states to lower VAT on renovation and repair of private dwellings from 17.5% to 5% comes after months of campaigning by trade bodies and MPs.

A 5% VAT rate on home improvements was one of the main points of the Get Britain Building manifesto set up by a coalition of MPs and trade bodies last month. It has also been the focus of a long-running campaign led by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Sigh, plus ça change, etc etc


  1. It's the same with the 2yrs between car MOT's and the 80mph on motorway plans. All decided by Brussels but put forward early by the UK administrators as their idea in order to avoid the 'pandering to the EU' label.
    Even though they are lol

  2. Meanwhile of course the french introduced the reduced rate on repairs/renovation work some years ago.
    They know the local economy depends on self employed tradespeople and small firms and the country needs good housing stock so they encourage them.