Stephen Timms, the Labour Party’s Faith Envoy, has written to George Osborne to express his concerns over the Chancellor’s plans – announced in the recent budget – to tax alterations to listed places of worship at 20%.
The changes have come as a shock to projects around the country that will now face huge VAT bills and will place an extraordinary burden on the Church of England (CofE) who maintain 45% of listed buildings in England, including 42 Cathedrals and 12,500 churches. The changes are estimated to cost CofE congregations over £20million per year and will mean many important alterations will simply not take place. In one case, for example, plans have been drawn up and work has begun on renovations to Wakefield Cathedral but the project has now been placed in jeopardy by an unexpected £200,000 VAT bill.
Should you like to read Stephen's letter to the Chancellor you can find it here.