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Energy: Housing

Question for Treasury

UIN 1005, tabled on 11 May 2022

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to remove VAT on (a) heat pump radiators and (b) other home upgrade products that use energy savings materials.

Answered on

18 May 2022

At Spring Statement 2022, the Chancellor announced the expansion of the VAT relief on the installation of energy saving materials (ESMs) to residential accommodation in Great Britain.

The changes reverse restrictions introduced in 2019 following a Court of Justice of the European Union ruling, including re-instating wind and water turbines as qualifying materials, and removing complex eligibility conditions. Further to this, qualifying installations, including ground and air source heat pumps, will benefit from a VAT zero-rate until April 2027. Overall, this represents an additional £280 million of support for investment in ESMs over the next 5 years.

The changes to the VAT treatment of ESMs announced at Spring Statement 2022 were brought in at pace to immediately support households to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, bolstering the UK’s energy security and contributing to our transition to Net-Zero.

In order to accelerate take-up and prevent loss of investment, the changes were brought in from 1 April 2022, 10 days after Spring Statement 2022. A longer delay between announcement and implementation risked having an adverse effect on the ESMs market, i.e. in anticipation of future relief business and consumers may have otherwise delayed entering into a contract thereby causing a temporary stalling effect in the market, and risking supply bottlenecks further down the line.

Evaluating the case for adding new technologies to the relief would require careful consideration and consultation to ensure changes represent value for money and would not have unintended behavioural effects, a process which would have delayed making changes to immediately benefit the public.

The Government keeps all taxes under review and continues to welcome representations on how the tax system can be improved. It is important that Government policy takes into account the pace of technological development in the ESMs market and the changing policy context since this particular relief was first introduced. That said, requests for further changes should be viewed in the context of over £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT received since the EU referendum. Such costs would have to be balanced by increased taxes elsewhere, increased borrowing, or reductions in Government spending.

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