Government commits £30m extra to cathedral upkeep
Published 17 May 2012
The Government has pledged to give £30m extra towards the cost of maintaining the Church of England's 12,500 listed buildings.
The extra funding adds to the £12m already in the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (LPWGS).
The LPWGS will in future be ring fenced and no longer vulnerable to cuts in departmental budgets.
There are plans to reintroduce monthly pay outs from October and the scheme will be guaranteed for the duration of this Parliament.
The Government has so far refused to budge on its plan to charge VAT on alterations to listed buildings, but church leaders said today that the £30m extra a year in the LPWGS would enable the equivalent to the VAT bill to be paid out on all alterations and repairs to listed church buildings.
The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, said the pledge was an acknowledgment from the Government of the unique heritage value to the nation of cathedrals and churches, and the way in which these alterations are enabling them to serve their local communities in a range of ways alongside being centres of worship.
Dr Chartres chairs the Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division and led discussions with the Treasury over the funding.
He said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Second Church Estates Commissioner Tony Baldry, for his role in brokering this agreement, and to Anne Sloman, and Janet Gough who have worked tirelessly in a very short window of opportunity but the Chancellor made it very clear that he was moving to ease the impact on the churches in recognition of the massive contribution made by congregations up and down the land to the life of their communities.”
Anne Sloman, Chair of the Church Buildings Council said, “The fact that the Treasury offer went from £5m to £30m is a recognition of the tremendous value for money to the nation as a whole that our buildings represent.
"We are grateful to parishes up and down the land who have lobbied so hard since the Budget to bring this point home to the government, and even more grateful for the massive contribution volunteers make by their efforts, week in and week out, to keep our beautiful churches in good repair for worship and adapted to serve the community in so many creative ways.”
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