The statistics don’t appear to stack up for the window industry in the newly published report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on the size and performance of the UK low carbon economy, according to Andy Jones, Managing Director at Edgetech UK, a Quanex company.
“The report states that in 2013 (the latest dates included in the report) total turnover for the manufacture and supply of energy efficient windows and doors is £2.8 billion, which we believe to be about right,” says Andy.
“It’s the supporting figures that don’t stack up. The ONS report states that there are only 180 companies engaged in direct activities for the manufacture and supply of energy efficient windows and doors with 17,500 people employed in the sector. We believe that considerably more companies are involved and that a much higher number of people are employed.
“With the report putting £20 million for investment, this figure too looks unrealistically low. Because we cannot reconcile these figures with what we know, we are writing to the ONS to get further clarification of the numbers included in the report.”
The section on energy efficient products shows windows and doors ranks third, taking 17 percent of the total. Insulation is in the top slot with 34 percent of market share. Other products included are energy efficient lighting, heat recovery and ventilation, energy controls and control systems, and sustainable architecture and buildings.
“But,” adds Andy, “one thing that’s very clear is 4 out of 6 product categories included in the ONS report are eligible for reduced VAT at 5 percent. Lighting and energy efficient windows and doors are the only products that have 20 percent VAT added to them. If the Government is really serious about creating a low carbon economy it needs to support all UK based companies manufacturing and supplying energy efficient products.
“In 2008 Edgetech was the first company in the industry to bring the argument to Government in a petition. It was debated in parliament and included in Hansard, the record of every debate for the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The petition declared that substantial energy savings, and consequential environmental benefits, could be achieved with the use of energy efficienct products and that the Government should therefore reduce VAT on such products.
“When the General Election is over, we will be lobbying our local MP again to look again at supporting reduced rate VAT.