Call for VAT cut on energy efficiency measures in private homes

Call for VAT cut on energy efficiency measures in private homes

Gerard Eadie CBE

The UK Government should cut VAT on energy efficiency measures in private homes to encourage owners to make their properties greener and help drive the nation towards net zero, the founder of a home improvements company has said.

Gerard Eadie CBE, executive chairman at Scottish window manufacturers CR Smith, believes simple improvements that help reduce heat loss in private homes – such as draught proofing, secondary glazing, or energy efficient glazing units – should be treated the same as the installation of more expensive green energy generating measures such as solar panels, which are currently incentivised.

The businessman said the ‘fabric first’ approach, which prioritises dealing with the thermal efficiency of the property over the environmental credentials of its energy source, is recognised within broader initiatives such as the Social Housing Net Zero Standard, but not for existing private housing.

Mr Eadie believes the impact of introducing incentives such as grants or VAT cuts for upgrades to existing private housing including glazing installation and repairs could be significant as the nation sets its sights on Net Zero by 2045, as the majority of heat loss from a home is via its windows.

He said: “Scotland has set ambitious net zero targets, as has the UK, and if they are to be realised then the public has a huge part to play – but they need support.

“Why are only energy producing measures, like solar panels and heat pumps, incentivised? By reducing VAT on home improvements aimed at preventing heat loss – including low-cost services to refurbish older double glazed windows and doors – homeowners would be encouraged to invest in sustainable upgrades which keep heat in. Like solar panels, this should be linked to accredited companies who provide the highest quality and best performing products.”

Dunfermline-headquartered CR Smith, which has been under the continual leadership of Mr Eadie since the early 1970s, has revealed the firm’s low-cost repair service, FIX, is a major growth area for the business.

He said: “Low-cost repairs and upgrades for windows and doors is an underserved market and many homeowners simply do not know where to turn to make their windows and doors more energy efficient before they are at the point of replacing them altogether.

“We often tell customers their windows don’t need to be replaced. People have no idea you can improve a window without fully replacing it. We can upgrade it, fix it, and help customers put the value and comfort back in their home and help improve the home’s energy efficiency. That is, after all, how the business started.”

CR Smith, which has its head office and manufacturing facility in Fife as well as offices in Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen, became one of Scotland’s most recognised brands in 1984, when the firm sponsored both Rangers and Celtic.

Mr Eadie added: “Scotland became one of the first nations to declare a global climate emergency in April 2019, and has set an ambitious target to become ‘Net Zero’ by 2045. Simple low-cost upgrades should be made available to all homeowners.

“Because of our brand awareness, we are in a position to help drive change – we can repair and upgrade homeowners’ current windows to improve their function, their looks, and their energy efficiency, as well as replace them if needed.”

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