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New call for zero VAT on energy

14 June 2012

by a staff reporter

CHURCHES should get zero-rate VAT on energy and incentives to adopt green tariffs, proposals from energy brokers suggest.

The Church Energy Purchasing Group (CEPG) is trying to set up a lobby group to call on the Govern­ment to help places of worship that are struggling to meet rising energy bills.

VAT on church energy bills currently stands at five per cent, but should be zero-rated, Bob Pritchard, of CEPG, said. Currently, parish treas­urers have to fill in a form to claim the reduced rate of VAT on their energy bills, but many do not; CEPG estimates that churches overpay £3 million a year to the Chancellor.

“We estimate this saving in VAT will cost the Government £12 million per annum — a small price to pay for saving numerous churches and other places of worship,” Mr Pritchard said.

He has written to religious leaders to canvass support for a lobby group, and the response has been positive.

The group is also demanding a financial incentive for churches to buy green electricity. Churches are already exempt from the climate-change levy, so they need a further rebate to encourage them to buy green electricity, which is charged at a premium rate.

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