Energy Efficiency - is Sunak's VAT initiative enough for landlords?

Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2022

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement was something - but not enough.

That’s the view of Ben Beadle - chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association - who says: “We welcome the decision to scrap VAT on energy efficiency measures. 

“However, it remains disappointing that the government has again failed to explain what will be required of the rental sector when it comes to energy improvements.  The sector needs clarity as a matter of urgency.

“More broadly, as renters, along with all others, face a cost-of-living crisis, the Chancellor should have reversed his decision to freeze housing benefit rates. Without this, those relying on the benefit will find it increasingly difficult to afford their rents.”

And Elise Coole, managing director of specialist buy to let lender Keystone Property Finance, says Sunak should have done more on energy efficiency.

“We have been calling for more government support to help make the nation’s housing stock more energy efficient for years. Therefore, we welcome the Chancellor’s announcement today that he is removing VAT for the installation of energy saving materials such as solar panels and insulation.

“While it is a step in the right direction, we believe the government could – and should – be doing much more to help people shoulder the immense financial burden associated with making their homes greener.

“The Chancellor claims his plan will save the average person installing solar roof panels more than £1,000. But is that really much of an incentive when the average cost of installing solar panels is around £4,800?

“If the government is serious about nudging people into action it needs to provide more direct financial support, such as expanding the Boiler Upgrade Scheme so more people can take advantage of it.

“Ideally, this would be alongside the introduction of a replacement for the now defunct Green Homes Grant, which provided grants of up to £5,000 to those making energy saving improvements. If given the time and proper funding, this scheme could have flourished and become a real game changer.” 

- basic rate of income tax to be cut to 19% in 2024;

- National Insurance increased to go ahead but thresholds increased by £3,000, rising from £9,600 to £12,570;

- homeowners with energy-saving materials like solar panels, heat pumps or insulation will pay zero VAT for the next five years;

- doubling current £500m Household Support Fund giving additional assistance for the poorest facing escalating energy bills;

- fuel duty will be cut by 5p a litre from 6pm, runs until March 2023;

- £50m for further crackdown on fraud, including a new Public Sector Fraud Authority; 

- tax rates on business investment will be reduced - not now, but in the Autumn Budget in late 2022;

- there will be an overall ‘tax plan’ for the next five years, with three objectives - help households with the cost of living, create conditions for growth, and introduce tax cuts before the end of this Parliament;

- a forecast that the UK economy will grow by 3.8 this year (dramatically down from previous expectation of 6.0 per cent), with projections for growth of 1.8 per cent in 2023, and then 2.1 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent in the following three years.

Via @LandlordToday