Friday, 22 October 2010

Church Buildings - update after CSR

The DCMS has announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, that the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme will survive beyond March 2011, albeit in the reduced form which was announced as an interim measure (from 4 January to 31 March next year) on the 7th of October. The LPWS budget will be capped at a level 19% below what it has cost annually in recent years. This will erode its value as will the fact that VAT is going up to 20%.

Churches will not be able to recover VAT on professional fees for works and repair works to organs, bells, clocks, and pews, but they will still be able to claim for buildings, up to a capped total of just over £12 million in 2011-12, rising to just over £13 million in 2014-15.

Although it is not a complete victory, POWAlliance believes this to be welcome news at a time of such severe financial stringency. It is the result of long, effective and sustained campaigning by a number of individuals, denominations, faiths and forums, including Places of Worship @ The Heritage Alliance. Thank you very much to all who contributed.

Other CSR announcements of relevance to members include:

• The Churches Conservation Trust’s DCMS grant will be cut by 20% over four years.

• English Heritage’s DCMS grant will be cut by 32% over the same period. It’s not yet clear how this will affect them and whether there will be any direct impact on churches.

• Taken together, these reductions in Government funding to the sector will mean that communities will have to do far more fund raising when historic places of worship need repairs, in order to raise matched funds – they will no longer be able to look to the state to play such a large role. Heritage bodies which are suffering more serious cutbacks may find it harder in future to offer advice and support when it is needed.

• To see the official response from the CCT to the spending review announcements, see:

• To see the official response from The Heritage Alliance, read the current issue of 'Update' and look on THA's website

Deborah Jarman

Places of Worship Development Officer
The Heritage Alliance
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