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UK Government urged to cut VAT to protect Scotland’s heritage and boost economy

VAT should be reduced to five per cent for renovations, repairs and home improvements, the Scottish Government’s culture secretary has claimed.

The move would be a saving of fifteen per cent, and would help to protect Scotland’s heritage, as well as stimulate the building industry and boost the economy in Scotland, Fiona Hyslop claims.

The calls to the UK Government come ahead of a Parliamentary Debate on the importance of architecture and place-making to the economy of Scotland.

Commenting, culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “We need to be smarter about re-using existing buildings. Demolition is inherently expensive, and construction waste is estimated to make up one third of all landfill waste in the UK.

“Restoration is a sustainable and viable option that uses fewer resources but provides more employment. For every pound spent, you could get twice as much local employment and use around half of the resources.
“Refurbishment of older buildings and areas, especially those of heritage value, usually acts as a catalyst for wider regeneration. It also helps to foster traditional building skills.”

The proposal is widely supported in Scotland, Hyslop adds: “Such a move would also encourage owners and communities to invest in homes and neighbourhoods across the country, and provide added stimulus to the hugely important construction industry, one of the strongest sectors in Scotland today.

“Whether old or new, well-designed places and buildings should be seen as an investment that adds value,” she said.