THE POLITICIAN who leads the House of Commons construction group has sparked a row after coming out against slashing VAT on repair, maintenance and improvement to 5 per cent.
Crosby MP Claire Curtis-Thomas ? an engineer who has lent her support to the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group's anti-retention campaign ? played down the chances of Government moves to cut VAT.
Ms Curtis-Thomas, the new chair of the all-party Parliamentary construction group, argued that Government was keener to spur regeneration with zero-rated new-build than offer incentives for refurbishment.
She told Construction News: 'Incentives are there to get people to do stuff that they wouldn't do otherwise.
People will do refurb work anyway ? it's a cop-out to take the VAT off.
'The Government is very resistant to it. It thinks no incentives are necessary as people are and will be prepared to pay.' Andrew Large, external affairs director at the Federation of Master Builders, said: 'Saying that people will do refurbishment work anyway ignores the fact that the ODPM's housing survey shows that most work is needed in the poorest areas.' n Next week: Claire CurtisThomas interviewed