The news has been welcomed by organisations connected to the construction and property sectors as a way of helping their members survive the recession. At present eight building firms are going bust each day according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicts that 300,000 construction jobs will be lost during the course of the recession. The news will also be welcomed by the record 4.5 million people on council house waiting lists.
Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said: "News that the UK Government now has the option to reduce VAT to 5% on home maintenance and repairs is very exciting as it can no longer blame Brussels for not being able to take action.
"If the UK Government goes ahead and implements the VAT cut it could mean that many more small building firms will be able to stay in business. The EU experiment where VAT has already been cut in parts of Europe already proves that a cut will increase Treasury revenue as well having many social benefits such as creating a greener, more energy efficient housing stock and tackling the growing issue of fuel poverty. All we need now is for the UK Government to act quickly and decisively."
Henry Oliver of the Empty Homes Agency said: "Today’s vote is a great result for the millions who are in need of adequate housing; this is a real opportunity to redevelop the 940,000 properties which are sitting empty in the UK, as this cut makes it more affordable. I hope the UK Government will act urgently to implement the cut in VAT so as to boost efforts to tackle the scandal of empty homes."
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