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A planning permission holiday isn’t enough to encourage homeowners to extend – let’s get serious and reduce VAT on major home improvements

The HomeOwners Alliance broadly supports the government’s proposals, subject to some critical changes, and, insists that these changes will have little impact.

The government is consulting on ways to make it easier for homeowners to build larger single-story extensions to their homes without requiring planning permission. If the plans are implemented extensions will not require permission as long as they are not longer than 6 metres for terraced houses or 8 metres for detached.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said in a letter to the Planning Minister: “We believe the Government’s planning reforms are good news for homeowners. Obtaining planning permission can be an expensive and arduous process, and all too often unnecessary. However, we do want to make sure this is not a builders’ charter. There must be protection for neighbours from ugly, overbearing extensions.”

Although we support the government’s desire to make it easier and cheaper for homeowners to build small-scale extensions, we are not convinced that these changes will do much to promote growth and bring extra work for local construction companies. She continued “If the government is serious about encouraging homeowners to improve their home and kickstart the construction industry, they should seriously consider reducing or removing the 20% rate of VAT on building extensions.”

The Isle of Man trialled a reduced rate, reviewed its impact and then successfully negotiated with the Treasury to make the reduced rate permanent. If it’s good enough for the Isle of Man it should be good enough for the rest of the UK

The Government consultation ends 24 December 2012. Click here to find the full consultation. Click here for a copy of the letter to the Minister.

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When quoting this Press Release please link to the HOA website at
For media enquiries contact Paula Higgins on 020 3397 3292, or 07947 240 293, or Martin Shankleman on 07747896056,,

About the HomeOwners Alliance

The HomeOwners Alliance champions the interests of Britain’s homeowners and aspiring homeowners, and provides services they can trust. We are a membership organisation, acting as the voice of the homeowner in the media, lobbying for the interests of homeowners and aspiring homeowners in government, and campaigning against bad practices in industry.

HomeOwners Alliance Report, Death of a Dream – The Crisis of Homeownership, published on 16th November 2012, found that the dream of homeownership is dying in Britain, and that the consequences are profound and long lasting: poverty among pensioner and children will rise, social inequality worsen, with more and more people face life in insecure rented accommodation.

We will directly engage with government and the media by conducting independent research and publishing reports that promote and champion the interests of homeowners. Former Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, called the HomeOwners Alliance “good news for homeowners and homeownership”.

At, we provide independent advice for the key moments in owning a home, supported by legal and industry experts.

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