Wednesday, December 20, 2023

GUEST POST Look out for lobbying in the Listed Election

Augustus Carp on the emergence of a new lobbying group - just in time for the general election.

Do you live in a listed building? And do you live in a marginal seat? If so, it looks like the next general election is the one for you!

The Listed Property Owners Club (a buyer’s club and lobbying group) has been campaigning for years for VAT to be waived or reduced for repairs to listed buildings.  

They also have doubts as to whether or not HMRC is implementing VAT on listed buildings in the way originally intended by parliament.  

Obviously, that’s shameless special pleading for a vested interest, but it’s an interesting proposition for all that – maybe it might be a Good Thing if repairs that need to meet exacting local authority Listed building standards were a bit less expensive, in order to preserve both old buildings and the housing stock.

Whatever. At the next General Election, the Listed Property Owners Club has decided to lobby all candidates in the marginal seats with the most listed buildings in them, to seek agreement for their policy paper on the subject. 

So far, they have identified Mid Devon (4756 listed buildings), Frome (4155) and Berwick on Tweed (3574). They assume 2.5 voters per listed building, and say “You can see how important our vote will be.”

Time permitting, they hope to get candidates’ responses back to their members before polling day.  So, if you are canvassing a Grade II* Georgian Rectory or a weaver’s cottage with interesting  plasterwork, be on your guard for some rather unusual questions about the Whole Heritage Agenda and the standards for local authority consent orders.

Augustus Carp is the pen name of someone who has been a member of the Liberal Party and then the Liberal Democrats since 1976.

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