The Conservatory Tax: A Step Too Far ? Mark Oliver, H+H UK MD, Comments

This concept of consequential improvements seems to me to be fundamentally sound, but now is just the wrong time to try and introduce it.

With new house-building still struggling to rise out of recession, the building trade is more dependent than ever on the opportunities offered by extensions and alterations. Any initiative that is perceived to add costs to this activity would simply cause improvement projects to be delayed or in the worst case cancelled. This would be a disaster for builders, merchants and manufacturers.

The problem is one of communication. The idea behind consequential improvements is that the upfront cost to the householder would be zero, with improvements funded by the Green Deal.

However, with so many of the details of Green Deal funding still very unclear (even to those of us in the industry who have been working with the initiative since the start) it is not the right time to persuade cash-pressed householders that the additional work required would not impact on the cost of their project.

U-Turns are never good for the credibility of governments, and uncertainty is never good for any industry. However, this is one U-Turn that I believe the industry should welcome.