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VAT change benefits

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By Fiona Reid
VAT change benefits

SOUTH Scotland MSP Emma Harper is calling on the UK Government to make changes to VAT in order to incentivise the regeneration of derelict sites in Dumfries and Galloway.

Currently businesses need to pay five per cent VAT on construction works on derelict and pre-existing sites which many organisations, including the Scottish Land Commission, have said is a disincentive for potential investors.

Existing favourable VAT assigned for new builds creates a counter intuitive approach as current VAT makes it is much easier to build on prime agricultural land, instead of utilising and transforming sites that are already available.

In a letter to the UK Government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, the South Scotland MSP indicated that making existing buildings as heat and energy efficient as possible, and transforming current vacant, abandoned or derelict buildings, is critical to meeting net zero carbon emissions in the future and to tackling the global climate emergency.

Ms Harper said: “There is a wealth of evidence and research, including from the Scottish Land Commission, which demonstrates that changes to the current tax system, but in particular VAT, can empower communities and create a modal shift in construction practices in Scotland and right across the UK.

“The evidence shows that, should VAT be reformed, we could see a stark increase in investors repurposing brown field sites, including derelict sites, instead of building on prime agricultural land.

“The benefits this change could bring to communities right across Dumfries and Galloway which are plagued by these eyesore vacant, abandoned and derelict sites, is immense.

“Our region has more than its fair share of derelict sites – like the former Interfloor Factory in Dumfries, George Hotel and the Arches in Stranraer, Central Hotel in Annan and Mercury Hotel in Moffat, to name just some.

“I call on the chancellor to accept the evidence and take this simple step of removing VAT from brown field redevelopment.”

Annan and Eskdale

24th May

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