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VAT and listed churches

23 May 2012


From Canon Ian Gaskell

Sir, — The proposed integration for VAT of alterations with repairs and maintenance to listed church buildings (News and Comment, 18 May) raises many issues.

Certainly, we need to be a little sharper about what is contributing to the so-called Big Society, and what is, in reality, the development of liturgical space and comfort, or, as the Bishop of London puts it in his post-Budget letter to the Chancellor, “providing unglamorous but necessary lavatory and kitchen facilities”.

So spare a thought for those 3500 churches that are not listed, as well as those amazing people of faith working from church halls and other parochial buildings, also not listed, but providing a springboard and focus for a huge social and missionary impact in our country.

Significantly, their voice has not been heard. It may be that they are too busy to complain, or that so refined is their social and faith commitment that they realise that the payment of tax could well benefit the people they serve every day in their ministry in this Big Society.

St James Vicarage, 21 Stoney Lane
Chapelthorpe, Wakefield WF4 3JN

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