Perhaps infamous for delivering the phrase ‘Who would live in a house like this?’ in the 90s’ television program, Through the Keyhole, Loyd Grossman is no stranger when it comes to poking around homes and properties.
Recently the colourful character, who has a long-standing passion for historical architecture, came out in support of scrapping VAT on heritage restorations in a BBC online video. In the video, which you’ll find below, Mr. Grossman outlines the main reason for scrapping VAT on heritage restorations. He argues that it makes sense to utilise, develop and maintain the beautiful heritage buildings that we already have, from both an economic, cultural and environmental standpoints: an idea that is likely to find favour with many owners of heritage properties.
Scrap VAT to encourage restoration and maintenance
Heritage buildings are already costly to repair and maintain, without VAT being taken into the equation. According to the Historic Housing Association, the cost of annual repairs for their members comes to nearly £750 million: an astronomically expensive figure. VAT exemption on heritage maintenance and repair would significantly cut this figure and encourage more people to maintain their properties.
The economic arguments
In the video, he argues that heritage buildings were designed and built to last for a long time, in contrast to the hastily built office blocks and homes today (new builds which incidentally, are exempt from VAT charges).
The maintenance of these heritage buildings is integral to expanding their useful lifespan, which can reach into hundreds of years in some cases. Unfortunately, because of the 20% rate of VAT currently placed on heritage restoration and maintenance, many owners are put off from carrying out important, but potentially expensive maintenance work. Scrapping VAT would encourage more property owners to invest in their heritage buildings and properly maintain them.
Heritage industry: big money
On top of this, heritage buildings also have the potential to make a lot of money: just look at the country’s booming fifth largest industry –tourism to see that in action. Britain’s beautiful heritage buildings are a major draw for tourists and have the potential to reap extensive profit. By scrapping VAT on heritage restoration, the government will be able to encourage more property owners to properly maintain their buildings and potentially develop the tourism industry in this country, swelling the Treasury’s coffers in the process.
The cultural argument
Loyd Grossman argues that heritage buildings help to provide the cultural context in which we can be ‘good, prosperous and creative citizens’. Effectively, heritage buildings and architecture help to define, create and document a country’s identity. As a result, they’re an incredibly important historical asset for the country, enabling future generations to learn more about their past. By scrapping VAT, the government will safeguard the survival of these buildings for many years to come.
Specialists in heritage restoration in the South West
Wessex Restoration are specialists when it comes to renovating and restoring heritage buildings in the South-West. Based near Bristol, our highly skilled team of restoration specialists have years of experience when it comes to restoring heritage properties back to their former glory. If you’d like some more information, send us a message.