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VAT: grants for listed places of worship

by
19 April 2011

iStock

From the Second Church Estates Commissioner

Sir, — I read with concern your report “VAT change threatens Bradford church” (News, 15 April).

I think that Ministers in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) worked very hard to ensure that the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme could con­tinue, but at a time when every part of their Department’s budget was being reduced, it was not surprising that the DCMS wanted to ensure that the scheme stays within the budget limits already announced.

The DCMS has made a commit­ment to meeting all valid claims made and received up to and in­clud­ing 31 March under the old scheme. It is likely that around £24 million will eventually be paid in relation to 2010/11 claims, around £10 million more than was expected.

I know that Ministers in the DCMS were keen to have a solution that was as easy as possible to administer, and fair, and that achieved the widest possible spread of benefit. They consulted very closely with church representatives, and the system for payments in the future was agreed with church represent­atives.

You rightly report that this scheme was introduced in 2001, and has benefited churches by about £12 million a year. That is exactly the amount that the Government envisage the scheme funding in future years.

TONY BALDRY
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

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