MP offers green pledge during Ridgeons visit

Published:  09 February, 2012

NORFOLK: George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk said he was sympathetic to the need for tax breaks to help the emerging green energy industry during a visit to during a visit to the Rockland All Saints branch of Ridgeons.

The branch which has seen a rapid growth in sales of its renewable energy products, including ground and air source heat pumps, solar panels and biomass boilers.

During his trip, he was given a guided tour of the premises by branch manager Mike Fields, director Chris Greaves and Brett Amphlett, of the Builders' Merchants Federation, and discussed the value of small and medium-sized builders in creating jobs and growth, the trading outlook for markets and how the building materials supply chain was evolving during the economic downturn.

But Ridgeons is concerned complex VAT rates were putting potential customers off switching to renewable energy as some micro-generation and energy-saving measures came with 20% VAT, compared to the 5% VAT customers paid on energy bills.

Mr Greaves believed that the 5% VAT rate should cover all energy-saving measures so customers had an added incentive to "go green".

"It is not just insulation. There are a lot of other products, ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps. If you want to get these products off the ground, to get them used around the country then you have got to have some incentives there."

Ridgeons fears the government's Green Deal programme to cut carbon emissions was too reliant on large energy suppliers.

Mr Freeman said: "I am very sympathetic to the argument that we may need to look at tax breaks for energy-efficient home-improvement products and I will be discussing this with ministers from the Department for Energy and Climate Change."

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