The United Reformed Church is joining with other denomination in calling on its members to oppose proposals in the government's March budget which could cost churches across the UK around £20 million a year.
In last month’s budget, Mr Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, proposed an abolition of the current VAT exemption on alterations to listed places of worship from October this year. This would have far-reaching consequences for the UK’s listed church buildings – of which the URC has around 400 – and it is expected that the change could deter some churches from undertaking any building work at all.
The Revd Ruth Wollaston, minister of Besses United Reformed Church, says: “I am very concerned about this proposal. We have successfully re-roofed a grade two listed building during the past decade. This took us eight years altogether – much fund raising and two bids to English Heritage. I wonder if we could have done this if we had faced VAT costs as well!”
The Church of England has set up an e-petition in opposition to the change on the direct.gov website. 100,000 signatures means that the petition will have a change of being debated in parliament – please sign it here
Today’s edition of The Telegraph hinted at the possibility of a u-turn by the chancellor, see here
Photo shows the deterioration of canopy lead at Saltaire United Reformed Church, a grade one listed building © Len Morris