John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage has announced today that the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme is to be amended.
Currently listed places of worship, of any faith or denomination, can claim a grant equal to the VAT paid on eligible maintenance and building works. The new measures will see the scheme return to its original scope of eligibility which will exclude works on clocks, pews, bells, organs and professional services such as architects’ fees, for the rest of this financial year.
“Everyone is being asked to make savings so I’m afraid we cannot exclude this scheme, however much I would like to,” said Mr Penrose. “We asked representatives of the major denominations how they would prefer the savings to be made, and it was agreed that reducing the scope was the least damaging option for making savings, whilst still allowing claims for all other sorts of work.”
About the scheme
The future of the scheme - which has given over £111 million since it began in 2001 - is currently under review as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).
“The Listed Places of Worship scheme has helped around nine thousand communities to repair their historic places of worship,” said Crispin Truman, Chair of Places of Worship at Heritage Alliance. “Any loss of scope under the scheme is to be regretted, but we appreciate that the Department needs to contribute to the savings needed, and are pleased that denominations had a chance to comment on the proposals.”