The fenestration sector finally has a chance to communicate with the Government on one of the most pressing issues we have argued for years: VAT relief.
Following on from the Windsor Framework, the Government is now looking to consult on what the public and business think should be included for VAT relief as part of wider efforts to bring the UK’s housing stock up to scratch to meet 2050 net zero deadlines.
This is our sector’s chance to mobilise and speak loudly with one voice on behalf of our sector.
VAT relief for windows and doors
On March 15th of this year, the Government launched a brand new consultation: Call for evidence: VAT energy saving materials relief – improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
The Government is asking for feedback from the public and businesses as to what they think should be included in VAT relief. This is something our sector has longed to talk about for a very long time, and this opportunity may not come around again for a very long time.
To view the entire consultation document, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/vat-energy-saving-materials-relief-improving-energy-efficiency-and-reducing-carbon-emissions/call-for-evidence-vat-energy-saving-materials-relief-improving-energy-efficiency-and-reducing-carbon-emissions#reviewing-the-list-of-technologies-eligible-for-vat-relief
The part that matters to UK fenestration is Section 3 – Other Technologies. This is the section of the consultation where the Government is asking if there should be other technologies (products) that should be eligible for VAT relief. As we well know, the difference energy-efficient windows and doors can make to a home is one of the single biggest improvements a homeowner can make to their property. It can have a much bigger benefit than some of the other technologies that currently qualify for VAT relief.
Under this section of the consultation, the Government is asking for answers to five questions:
- How would you describe and define this technology for the purposes of the ESMs relief?
- How does the suggested technology meet each of the 3 objectives in Chapter 2?
- Can you explain how this technology operates and does it work in conjunction with other technology? If so, how?
- What is the typical cost of installing this technology in residential accommodation?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of including this technology within the relief?
The answers required to the above questions will not be one-word answers. But this is a rare opportunity for our sector to really press home the advantage our products bring to every home in the country. We have the evidence. We know the U-Values of our windows and doors. We know through various reports the difference energy efficient windows and doors can make not only in reducing carbon emissions but energy costs as well. There are now a number of energy calculators provided by various suppliers which we can refer to.
Responses to the consultation can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Time to mobilise
Our industry is still at odds with itself over trickle vents. The last set of revisions to Building Regulations came into force in June 2022, but the fallout is still being felt and we are as much to blame as anyone else as we showed such a pitiful engagement rate with the consultation that came before those particular revisions.
Now is not only an opportunity to fight for our corner for VAT relief but to also show the Government that we can actually engage with something significant. That we can come together in one voice on a single issue and show maturity. Something we have failed to do on so many other things in the past.
For this consultation to be effective and to garner a chance at the Government considering our point of view, we have to mobilise. Not just a few animated voices or companies. We have to send in thousands of responses to get the attention of the right people. We need to get the word out about this consultation to as many companies in our sector as possible, and then again to all the staff within those companies to maximise the responses.
We have to fight for this opportunity. The benefits for both the consumer and the fenestration sector are immense. A price cut for homeowners at a time of severe inflation would certainly be welcome, and would no doubt raise demand for replacement windows and doors. For the industry, higher demand at a time when things are slowing down would also be welcome. It would help secure and create new jobs, as well as put new emphasis on our sector and maybe shine a slightly more positive light on what we do and how our products can play a central role in meeting the UK’s net zero targets.
So if you are in the UK fenestration sector, please take a few minutes to click the link above, read the consultation and submit your responses as soon as you can. The end of the consultation process in May 31st 2023, so we have no time to waste!
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