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.