Thursday, 7 October 2010

Savings measures announced for Listed Places of Worship grant scheme

The scope of the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme is to be amended in line with Government savings, Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose announced today, the 7th of October 2010. At the moment listed places of worship, of any faith or denomination, can claim a grant equal to the VAT paid on eligible works. However, following discussions, it has been agreed to return the scheme 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. The future of the scheme beyond this year is still under review, and will be resolved as part of the CSR process.

John Penrose said:
“Everyone is being asked to make savings so I’m afraid we cannot exclude this scheme, however much I would like to. 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.”

Crispin Truman, Chair of Places of Worship at Heritage Alliance, and CEO of the Churches Conservation Trust said:
The LPOWGS has helped around 9000 communities to repair their historic places of worship. 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. We welcome the decision to meet the VAT increase from January albeit on slightly reduced scope, and would renew our calls for the scheme to be continued from April 2011.”

The changes will come into effect from 4 January and will apply until the current end date of the scheme, 31 March 2011.

The DCMS press release on the LPOWGS savings measures can be found at

Well done to everyone who lent their support to securing this outcome. However, although this clarifies the situation for the next five and a half months, the long term future of the scheme is by no means clear. PLEASE forward this to all your members and ensure that the campaign continues!

Deborah Jarman
Places of Worship Development Officer
The Heritage Alliance
07506 675679
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