SNP MSP Rob Gibson has used a debate on the economy in the Scottish Parliament to crisiticse the missed opportunity from the UK Government to reduce VAT rates for the construction industry to 5%.
The Highlands and Islands member said that a reduction to 5% would help stimulate the industry and would also help home owners make improvements to their properties.
Speaking in Parliament Mr Gibson chastised the Labour UK Government for not implementing the change….
"We are told that the construction industry wanted the UK Government to look at VAT to help house building, but why did it (the Labour UK Government) ignore the industry's calls to reduce VAT to 5 per cent to enable repairs and retrofitting of climate change protection for homes to take place? London's VAT cut was just a last-minute fix. The UK Government was not interested in using that fiscal tool to help our construction industry get back on its feet."
Following on from the debate a delegation from the Highland construction industry visited the Parliament to raise the issue of hundreds of jobs losses in the industry. Mr Gibson called on the body to support SNP calls for a VAT reduction for the industry so that it could help kick start in the Highlands and Scotland.
During the debate MR Gibson also said that cuts from the UK Government were going to be worse predicted and that ….
"The pre-budget report confirmed that the depth of the debt crisis that we are entering is unprecedented and that the future cuts in Scottish funding from the Treasury will be far bigger than the £500 million that has been discussed." "Facing up to the challenge of trying to get Scotland back on to the front foot will require an enormous amount of ingenuity. As Alf Young said last week in The Herald, the cuts will be deeper than anyone realises at present. As my colleague Alex Neil pointed out, the cuts could amount to another £3 billion between 2010 and 2014. Public spending, which is the prime driver of the economy in Scotland, is being attacked."