There is deep unease among Tory ministers about the proposals for a so-called ‘conservatory tax’. The idea, which was pushed hard by Chris Huhne when he was Energy Secretary, is that when anyone does substantial home improvement work they would be made to make other changes to make their house more energy efficient. It is estimated that this would add about 10 percent to the cost of adding a conservatory or an extension to your house.
The government is currently consulting on the policy. But I understand that Grant Shapps, the housing minister, has ‘deep reservations’ about it. He fears that the proposals are anti-aspiration and could risk bolstering the impression that the coalition is out of touch.
Based on conversations this morning, it seems that Shapps is not the only Tory minister to have these concerns. There is a feeling among Tory ministers that the last thing they need to do right now is pick another fight with 40p Britain.