Since the large majority of Europe’s heritage assets are privately owned and public funding for their upkeep is insufficient, the EU Institutions and all Member States need to adopt incentives for private investments in repairing, restoring and maintaining historical buildings and cultural heritage, such as a reduced rate of VAT.
In 1999 the European Council adopted a Directive concerning VAT on labour-intensive services which allowed the application of a reduced VAT rate to the renovation and repair of private dwellings amongst other services for an experimental period of time; This temporary provision was prolonged several times and is now valid until the end of 2010. Only a limited number of EU Member States have opted to apply this provision.
In the legislation to be applied after 2010 which is currently under discussion, this temporary provision should be made permanent and should be extended to the repair, renovation and maintenance of all historical buildings.
Such a provision would have an extremely beneficial impact not only in terms of heritage conservation but also in terms of: job creation, combating the black economy, re-use of empty buildings, reducing the number of families living in substandard housing, bringing an end to the destruction of existing buildings, development of cultural tourism, local regeneration, protecting the environment, tackling fuel poverty, and cutting carbon emissions.Author : EMI