The Wider Built Environment Research

Levelling the playing field, not Scotland's built environment

Jocelyne Fleming

Policy & Public Affairs Officer - Scotland

Last updated: 10th August 2022

A case for retrofit over demolition?

Urgent policy intervention is needed to decarbonise the built environment sector at the scale and pace required to meet the net-zero targets. Under the current UK tax structure, twenty per cent VAT is applied on most repair and maintenance. In contrast, most demolition and new build projects are not charged VAT at all, creating a perverse environment where the replacement, rather than the repair and restoration of the built environment, is financially incentivised. In the absence of tax reform, could the Scottish Government implement a demolition levy to level the unequal playing field that threatens the sustainability of our built environment?