The National Home Improvement Council along with many other organisations including the Federation of Master Builders have been campaigning hard for several years now for a VAT on home improvements.
Supporters would like to see the current 20% rate of VAT cut to 5% on home repair, maintenance and improvement work. Campaigners maintain that this would:
- Boost economic growth in the UK
- Increase emplyment
- Bring thousands of empty properties back into use
- Improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock and reduce the incidence of fuel poverty
- Help those who cannot afford vital repairs to their homes
- Protect consumers and legitimate businesses by significantly reducing the competitive advantage of rogue traders.
A more recent development is that in the Budget in March this year, the Government announced their intention to stop the current zero rate of VAT for approved alterations to listed buildings in October 2012 and raise it to the standard rate of VAT. Many organisations and individuals feel this would have very serious consequences to historic buildings in this country and have started a e-petition. This is open for consultation until the 18th May.
There is lots more information on the Cut the VAT campaign and the research that has been carried out on www.cutthevat.co.uk where you can also find out how to get involved in the campaign.
Let us know your views on this campaign either here or on our facebook page.
Natural floorboards shrink and expand with the seasons. This means the best time to fill the emerging floorboard gaps are when they are at their largest.
Through the past months central heating systems may have caused traditional floorboards to shrink opening up wide gaps. These gaps can let cold draughts intrude into rooms making them cold and uncomfortable as well as increasing heating bills.
Now, when the gaps are at their largest is the best time to fill them. DIY gap fillers like papier mache and glue are not able to withstand the movement of the wood and will eventually drop through the gaps. As DraughtEx is very flexible it will expand and contract within the floorboard gap leaving you with peace of mind for years to come.
The same flexible properties also allow an easy installation in a wide range of gaps. Old Victorian houses often have wooden floorboards with strongly varying gaps. Our three different versions of DraughtEx will allow you to cover a gap range of 1-11mm width. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to receive more information or visit our website www.draughtex.co.uk
Last year, a €25 million restoration project was agreed for the Colosseum in Rome. The work will take up to two and a half years and is being sponsored by Diego Della Valle, founder of italian company Tod’s which make shoes and leather goods (let’s hope it doesn’t get re-named ‘Tod’s Stadium’ eh?!)
But concern has been raised over whether potential ‘cowboy builders’ are being used to restore the Colosseum. In December, Carla Tomasi of the Restorers Association of Italy, asked for the project to be looked into amid concerns of contractors being used with no specialist knowledge of working on such a site.
Tomasi said “Having some of the best restorers in the world in Italy and yet turning to general enterprises is a choice that we do not share, and embarrasses both our work and the image of our nation in the world, in addition to causing risks to the monument.”
But in late December a ruling by Italy’s Council of State was given for the work to continue, with the Director of the Colosseum stating that the workers were specialised in restoration and that the work was not being compromised.
Warnings have been given though that although restoration and cleaning is needed, there is major concern about the underlying factors affecting the building, such as the traffic which flows around the site causing such major pollution. It is hoped that at some point in the future a subway could be built and traffic stopped on the roads surrounding the Colosseum.
A panorama of the interior of the Colosseum in 2011