The political parties have released their manifestos ahead of the general election on May 7th. While the subject of VAT and listed property ownership was absent from the two main political parties manifestos, UKIP and the Green Party outlined their plans for heritage. The Liberal Democrats focused on energy efficiency for all properties.
From our Norman castles to Battersea Power Station, our heritage is an important part of our vibrant tourist industry, which supports three million jobs and contributes £127 billion annually to our economy.
PUTTING HERITAGE AND TOURISM BACK ON THE MAP
Heritage’ was a dirty word in Labour’s ‘Cool Britannia.’ Tony Blair moved the Department of National Heritage into the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and marginalised tourism by lumping it in with the responsibilities of the Minister for Sports and Equalities. The Conservatives’ bulldozer instincts kicked in when the Chancellor removed the zero rate of VAT on listed building repairs. Maintenance bills for over 400,000 of our most beautiful buildings, owned by a surprisingly diverse socioeconomic group of people, were hiked by 20 per cent. Developers putting identikit houses on greenbelt land, meanwhile, paid no VAT.
UKIP will end this discrimination against our historic legacy by: –
- Creating a dedicated Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism, attached to the Cabinet office
- Ensuring tax and planning policies support historic buildings and the countryside
- Removing VAT completely from repairs to listed building
- Introducing a ‘presumption in favour of conservation ’as opposed to the current ‘presumption in favour of development’ in planning legislation.
Green Party Manifesto:
- Reduce VAT on housing renovation and repair work (including insulation) to 5%, costing £1.6 billion a year. At present there is no VAT on constructing new dwellings but there is VAT at 20% on converting and renovating old buildings to be used as homes. This encourages new building at the expense of saving land and using what we have.
The Liberal Democrats Manifesto
While listed buildings are unmentioned in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, their housing plans do include a new Green Buildings Act and a plan for every home to reach a new energy rating of Band C.
- Pass a new Green Buildings Act to set new energy efficiency targets, including a long-term ambition for every home to reach at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035.
As listed building owners we know how challenging and expensive energy can be for older buildings, and we will seek to investigate all of the party’s plans for making energy efficiency policies viable for us.
Plaid Cymru Manifesto
- To improve the Welsh housing stock, support the Welsh construction industry and reduce energy bills, we will reduce VAT to 5% on certified housing renovations.