3 Nov

Bank proposes empty homes VAT move

Bank proposes empty homes VAT move

HBOS has renewed calls for the supply of new housing to be increased by making it cheaper to renovate existing empty homes.

The bank has revealed that in April last year England had 279,281 empty homes.

Although this figure was a decrease on the 308,438 recorded four years earlier, the data showed that the north was disproportionately affected, with 22 per cent of all empty homes in the north-west.

Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis said: "It is concerning that the existence of empty homes remains a significant problem in a number of areas, particularly in the north of England."

He proposed that the cost of VAT for renovations to bring such homes back into use should be lowered to five per cent.

Last week the Federation of Master Builders welcomed the decisions of the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru to back such an idea.

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