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Church organs and the grants scheme

27 October 2010


From Mr John Norman

Sir, — I was appalled to read that Anne Sloman, who chairs the Church Buildings Council (CBC), had lobbied successfully for the exclusion of work on organs and bells from the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, as from 4 January (News, 15 October).

Organ-restoration projects are inevitably subject to long time-cycles of planning and execution; so changes of policy at less than three months’ notice are bound to cause hardship to parishes that have carefully budgeted for essential repairs. The effective sudden imposition of a 20-per-cent tax on work already in progress or contracted for is bound to create severe problems.

The British Institute of Organ Studies (BIOS) has already been informed of difficulties in one large London church, now being restored to regular worship after years of decline, which faces a tax of more than £100,000 (money that the parish does not have) on work already contracted for to its 100-year-old cathedral-sized organ.

I have to ask whether the CBC, having lobbied for this outcome, will now find some way of coming to the rescue of this and the many other parishes facing the same emergency.

Chairman of the British Institute of Organ Studies
15 Baxendale
London N20 0EG

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