The government's new Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Chloe Smith, has described calls for a cut in VAT on renovations of empty properties as "the wrong thing at the wrong time".
She was responding to a debate in Westminster Hall on 18 October 2011, opened by the Labour MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterson.
He said there should be a cut in VAT on home improvements for one years.
The move has been supported by the Federation of Master Businesses, which says that it would reduce the competitive advantage of rogue traders, and increase employment.
Ms Smith took on her new role after her predecessor, Justine Greening, became Transport Secretary in the recent reshuffle caused by Liam Fox's resignation as Defence Secretary .