VAT on housing projects hurting regeneration

Urban Splash, a property development company which has already completed
numerous projects in Liverpool and Manchester, is calling for the scrapping of
VAT on refurbishment projects to encourage modernisation of the UK’s ageing

At present VAT is charge at 17.5% on refurbishment, whereas a new building is
zero-rated for VAT meaning that developers are often better offer demolishing
existing buildings then refurbishing them.

Urban Splash is seeking a ruling from Revenue & Customs on whether its
planned Park Hill redevelopment in Sheffield involves a sufficient degree of new
building to be zero-rated for VAT. Park Hill, a sprawling urban development from
the 1950s, is listed so cannot be demolished

It remains confident that it will get the answer it wants from the Revenue
and the scheme will be able to go ahead, the FT reported.

Nick Johnson of Urban Splash said: ‘VAT is a big disincentive to
refurbishment. It goes against best practice and sustainability. VAT can be a
make or break issue for some projects. It encourages demolition in housing
market renewal areas.’

The government says European Union law means it cannot alter the tax
treatment applied to redevelopments of existing buildings.

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