11 Aug 2011

Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Shettleston, John Mason, has urged the UK Government to cut the VAT on housing repair and improvement works to support employment in Scotland, tackle rogue traders and to support the most vulnerable groups in our communities.

Research by Experian, commissioned by the ‘Cut the VAT coalition’, found that a cut in VAT could create 3,170 new construction jobs in Scotland within a decade by increasing the workload for Scottish construction companies through incentivising home owners to repair and improve their homes.

John Mason is supporting a Scottish Parliamentary motion to introduce this targeted VAT cut after hearing the arguments from the Cut the VAT Coalition which believes that reducing VAT from 20% to 5% for all maintenance and home improvement work would benefit millions of homeowners by getting rid of rogue traders and help those who cannot afford vital repairs or worse to heat their homes.

Commenting, John Mason MSP said:

“I am pleased to support the Cut the VAT campaign. Small and medium sized construction companies in the East End are crucial to the local economy and would receive a much need boost from this VAT reduction. A VAT cut would also have many other social benefits including reducing rogue traders, poor quality housing and the number of empty properties in the area. Only the UK Government has the power to introduce this change and I urge them to act swiftly so every local area can reap the benefits.”

Grahame Barn, Director of FMB Scotland, added:

“Small building companies in Scotland suffered another decline in conditions during the second quarter of 2011 according to the FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey. A cut in VAT on home repair, maintenance and improvement work to 5% would help the small construction companies who are still struggling as a result of the economic downturn. Many of these companies work in the residential home improvement sector and have seen a huge decrease in work over the last few years as consumer confidence has fallen. A VAT cut would incentivise homeowners to improve their home thereby creating more work for small construction companies and creating more jobs as a result.

“The contraction in construction is hurting businesses and undermining overall growth, cutting VAT could help increase confidence and help return Scotland to growth.”