The majority of thatched properties in the UK are listed so we are certain owners will be interested in a VAT Grant Scheme. The Thatch Advice Centre has liaised with, written articles for and kept you up to date with what our friends at the Listed Property Owners Club (LPOC) have been doing over the last few years. Now it’s time to let you know about an important development with regard to VAT.
We asked LPOC to explain the situation and how we – and all of our friends, followers and subscribers – can help them. Here’s what they had to say about their proposed VAT Grant Scheme for listed buildings.
VAT on Listed Buildings Background
“The 2012 addition of VAT to listed building works has been a major challenge for all owners. Where once listed buildings were exempt from VAT on authorized works, today owners have to pay the full rate of tax. That has caused thousands of owners a good deal of financial hardship, and the LPOC have been campaigning ever since to some tax relief to the million or so private owners who maintain 95% of the nation’s listed buildings.
Thatched properties have suffered particularly badly from the changes. As homes that were already more expensive to maintain and insure, the arrival of an additional tax on top of that has had a disproportionately large impact. Just as important is the damage done to specialist traders, like master thatchers, who were already in short supply and now have to charge their customers 20% more.
Of course, all kinds of routine works have become more expensive, but thatch is a perfect example of how poorly thought out the changes were. Simply because of the materials used, thatched roofs require periodic replacement, as well as on-going maintenance. These are not one-off costs, they are the minimum required to keep a thatched building from deteriorating, and if the building is listed the owner is legally obliged to carry them out. Thatched properties are some of our oldest and most significant, and owners are now taxed for carrying out the basic works needed to protect them. This is not just unfair; it threatens the property’s long-term future.”
“The LPOC has been campaigning for VAT relief since the 2012 changes, and in the past few months our campaign has finally started to generate some real results. Our work with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Listed Properties has resulted in the Treasury changing their position and showing interest in a new scheme for VAT relief. While they are still opposed to a direct tax cut, they have invited proposals for a more targeted scheme, and the LPOC have worked hard to deliver a scheme we think they will accept.
Our present proposal is for a £56mil pot of funding, issuing grants that offset the VAT paid on works to maintain and repair listed buildings. The goal is to pay around 100,000 grants per year, helping as many owners as possible to keep their homes properly maintained.”
“Over the past few months, the government has shown that they accept the importance of tax cuts in supporting struggling sectors. The cuts to VAT for hospitality and tourism businesses were announced to help these industries recover. Our proposals for VAT relief follow the same reasoning – The best way to ensure our listed buildings survive is to make it as cheap and easy as possible for their owners to look after them. We are hoping to see our scheme adopted at the next budget, but to make that happen we need to show just how much public support there is for VAT relief.”
Support the VAT Grant Scheme
“If you support our proposal for a VAT grant scheme, the best way to get involved is to contact your MP and ask them to join the APPG on Listed Properties. This group of MPs is how we put pressure on the government and ensure they take our concerns seriously. The more members the group has, the more impact we have and the harder it is for the government to ignore owners. Just taking the time to write a letter or call your MPs office can make a real difference.
If you care about the future of listed buildings, then it is critical you speak up and let your representatives know how important it is.”
How to make a difference
A grant scheme would not only help with the cost of maintaining thatched roofs but other works on listed properties too. We feel it is important that we should all work together for the benefit of achieving this VAT Grant Scheme, proposed by LPOC. It will be of benefit to all listed property owners in maintaining our heritage.
So if you want to help make a change:
- Contact your MP
- Ask them to join the APPG on Listed Properties
- Tell your friends and family who have Listed Properties to do the same.
Judging by the amount of enquiries we get asking if there are any grants for rethatching works we know that it will make a difference to have such a scheme.
Please stay in touch for updates on progress of this campaign by signing up for our newsletters, social media etc.