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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
28th January 2021


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Welcome to the


I daresay that, like me, you'll have wondered many times over recent months where the Government is keeping its brains. Nothing seems to have been thought through and the plethora of inconsistencies... well - I've been shaking my head in disbelief so much that I seem to have created a permanent headache.

Some decisions have seemed perfectly reasonable; the stamp duty holiday for example. However, as someone who remembers the damage MIRAS did to the housing market back in the 80s, I have concerns about what will happen when stamp duty comes back into play. If you're too young to know what I'm talking about, Mortgage Interest Relief At Source enabled sharers to pool resources and buy property in an affordable way since both parties could claim tax relief on their mortgage payments. The announcement that the scheme was to end led to a rush on the market as sharers sought to secure a property in time to qualify for the scheme. Prices skyrocketed! My flat, bought just before the announcement, rose in value by 60% over a matter of weeks, before dropping back down overnight to slightly more than I'd paid for it, once the deadline came. The scheme's withdrawal plunged those who'd bought at inflated prices into 'negative equity', which for thousands, lasted years and in many cases led to repossessions. If you're planning to get on the housing ladder over the next few months, do be very careful.

Announced at around the same time as the stamp duty holiday was the Green Homes Grant, through which homeowners can apply for a £5000 voucher to make their homes more energy-efficient. I loved this scheme, believing it would kick-start the home improvement market, massively reduce our nation's energy and water consumption and help refill the Government's coffers with all that VAT and extra income tax being paid. Sadly though, this is another idea that hasn't been thought through properly, since the details, published this week, reveal that a couple of the 'biggies' - double glazing and water-saving fittings - aren't covered!

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association's chief executive, Tom Reynolds, is as disappointed as I am. "The Government's advisors on climate change found last year that heating water for showers and hot taps is the second largest source of household greenhouse gas emissions," he says. "With growing water scarcity, measures to reduce wasted water have a double-whammy benefit of reducing carbon and protecting vital water resources, so it's disappointing to see water efficiency not covered by this new Grant."

Can we as an industry get the Government to rethink this one, I wonder?


Jan Hobbs



31st August 2020

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