Cathedral’s £3m renovation threatened by VAT charge

St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle fears that its £3 million renovation may have to be scaled back if the Government goes ahead with its plan to charge VAT on alterations to listed buildings.

Cathedral Dean the Very Rev Chris Dalliston said the VAT charge would be a “huge blow” to the cathedral as it seeks to become “fit for purpose for the 21st century”.

The move could put an end to the cathedral’s plans to install a new heating system, improve access, and reorder the nave to make it suitable for concerts, exhibitions and other cultural activities.

“In the current climate, raising the funds was already a challenge – with up to a further £200,000 to find it may put the proposals in jeopardy,” said Rev Dalliston.

“Instead of extra revenue to the Treasury this will actually mean long term damage to the viability of our great building and to hundreds of the nation’s great buildings.”

Rev Dalliston was one of 23 cathedral deans from across the UK to express opposition to the VAT charge in a letter published in the Sunday Times.

He has also written to MPs for Newcastle, Chi Onwurah and Nick Brown to raise his concerns.

With ownership of 45 per cent of the Grade I listed buildings in England, the Church of England is strongly opposed to the move.

The Church has launched an e-petition urging the Government to maintain VAT exemptions for alterations to listed buildings.