Plaid Cymru MEP calls on government to use the powers the party demanded
The Party of Wales MEP Jill Evans has urged the UK Government to use the powers that the party helped secure to introduce a VAT cut for household improvements in order to improve the quality of Welsh homes and encourage economic growth.
Wales has an older housing stock than other parts of the UK, and encouraging home improvements will make them more efficient and cheaper to run, whilst also delivering a much-needed economic boost for local traders, she said.
Plaid Cymru has called for these powers for more than a decade, and successfully lobbied for the right of European Union governments to cut VAT on household improvements to 5%, but the UK Government has so far failed to implement this measure.
The Party of Wales MEP Jill Evans said:
“The UK Government should have implemented this power a long time ago, and I’m calling once again for it to be introduced. Cutting VAT will help homeowners improve their homes, and will help us by boosting the economy and encouraging business for our small traders.
“In the longer term it can help us meet the demand for homes, and could also have much wider social benefits by discouraging empty homes and helping improve communities with run down or neglected houses.
“This has been a long-running campaign for Plaid Cymru and organisations such as the Federation of Master Builders, and I’m proud that Plaid Cymru managed to change the EU rules to allow governments to cut VAT bills in this way. However, I am frustrated that the UK Government has neglected to implement the change. The change in law could be particularly beneficial for Wales where we traditionally have an older and less energy efficient housing stock.
“Implementing the change to VAT would make improving their homes more affordable for people, would bring down energy bills and would create a much-needed economic boost for local traders.
"I have also signed the Renovate Europe Campaign pledge to urge the government to implement an ambitious building renovation strategy. This would reduce energy waste and achieve the target of an 80% energy reduction by 2050. There are many examples of successful schemes in other countries and we should look at and share best practise. This is an area where Wales could lead.
“Plaid Cymru is proud that we have been able to win these changes for Wales. The Party of Wales is the only party that consistently puts Wales’ needs first and we will continue to be a strong voice for Wales in the EU.”