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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2013 Vol 3 No 6
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“This would draw a clear and sensible line of distinction between the planning system, which should properly be focused on the impact of buildings on their immediate environment in keeping with the understanding and expertise of local planning authorities, and the Building Regulations, which deal with technical standards.”

Berry concluded: “The Code for Sustainable Homes may have served a useful purpose in setting and driving standards for sustainable building, but as the Standards Review recognised, the Government’s policy on zero carbon homes has now outstripped any need for the Code.

It must be recognised that current energy efficiency standards required under Part L of the Building Regulations, and the proposed uplift in standards due to be implemented in 2014, are already extremely ambitious and highly challenging for the industry.

The idea that local authorities would be looking to set higher standards still is baffling, and frankly divorced from reality.

In reality, at a time when local government resources are already stretched to breaking point, it must be asked what expertise and understanding do local planning authorities have to start second-guessing technical building standards?”

Chancellor must make housing his top infrastructure priorityPhoto: Bill Nicholls

Chancellor must make housing his top infrastructure priority

The Chancellor must prioritise investment in Britain’s ageing housing stock by reducing VAT on renovation and repair work and investing public money in improving the homes of the fuel poor in order to secure the economic recovery and protect households from rising energy bills, said the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in a submission ahead of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on 4th December.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The Chancellor must view the UK’s homes as an infrastructure investment priority if he wants to fulfil his responsibilities by boosting growth and protecting families from rampant increases in the cost of energy.

“Unlike big rail or aviation projects, domestic repair and improvement projects can start right away, so the positive impact on the economy would be felt immediately.”

Berry added: “The Chancellor must act quickly and decisively to cut VAT on all domestic building work to 5 percent, which will encourage more householders to have energy-saving measures installed and give families new armour in the fight against ever-increasing energy bills.

“It just doesn’t make sense that the full rate of VAT is charged on work to make the average British home warmer and cheaper to run. Just under half of EU member states currently offer a discounted rate of VAT on this type of work, so why is the UK also not taking advantage of the opportunity to incentivise the market in this way?”

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