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Grant-scheme changes

08 November 2013

BECAUSE of the recent changes to the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, I have received several queries. So I have summarised the information on the website lpw-scheme.org.uk. The application form can be downloaded from the website.

The Government recently announced changes to the scope and operation of the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme; these changes came into effect on 1 October 2013. From this date, works to pipe organs, turret clocks, bells, and bell ropes are eligible for claims under the scheme. Professional services directly related to eligible building work such as architect fees are also eligible.

The changes to scope will be accompanied by administrative changes to simplify claiming through the scheme:

• In any 12-month period, each place of worship may submit one claim using eligible invoices with a value of less than £1000, but more than £500 (excluding the VAT paid). This is in addition to an unlimited number of claims where the value of eligible work carried out (excluding VAT) is £1000 or greater.
• Scanned or photocopied invoices are now accepted to support claims.
• The scheme will process payment runs each week to deliver a smoother flow of payments to applicants.

The expansion to include professional fees and works to pipe organs, turret clocks, bells, and bell ropes applies to works supplied on or after 1 October 2013.

The grant can cover: a listed building where the sole or main use is as a place of public religious worship; where it is available to the general public for at least six religious services a year, and availability is publicised and not by invitation only; works that are eligible

Eligible works include: roofs, vestries, chancels, towers, crypts, undercrofts, parapets, purlins, replastering, repointing, stone works, timber (where related to the fabric), rainwater goods, guttering, windows - reglazing grilles and bars; transepts, pinnacles, gables, drainage (all within the boundary walls), floors and floor coverings (only where permanent and within the fabric), bell frames, weathercocks, spires, lightning conductors, flagpoles and crosses (only if on place of worship).

They also include doors, altars, communion tables, fonts, monuments, wall-paintings/murals, kitchens (excluding any electrical appliances or equipment), permanently routed heating systems, turret clocks, bells, bell ropes, bell frames, and pipe organs.

Also included are damp treatment, pest control - provided the pest has caused, or is likely to cause, damage to the fabric of the building (works to repair damage to the fabric caused by bats, and mitigation measures to reduce or prevent damage caused by bats are also eli-gible); repair of damage caused to the fabric as a result of pests or metal thefts is eligible where not met by an insurance provider; asbestos-removal, locks and hinges, stairs, pews, preliminaries for eligible works, professional fees for eligible works, electrics, plumbing, decorative carvings, or stonework where these part of the fabric; investigative works/surveys, security and forensic systems to prevent crime, handrails, and hearing loops.

Non-eligible expenditure includes: audio-visual systems, free-standing or detachable altars, fonts, monuments, removable floor coverings, soft furnishings, movable items of furniture, pavings, tree removal, ancillary buildings and boundary walls, gravestones, graveyard monuments, retaining walls, gates, gardens, lychgates, car parks, external railings (internal railings that are part of the fabric of the building are eligible).

Also non-eligible are storage of items, materials alone, general cleaning, local-authority charges, maintenance plans, noticeboards, shelving, cupboards (except where specially supplied as part of a fitted kitchen), removable kitchen items, carpets, removable tiles, decorative soft furnishings, and fixtures, fittings, or decoration for commercial tenants.

The following should be noted:

• The invoice must be in the 12 months before the claim is made.
• The contractor is VAT registered.
• Invoice is for works to repair, maintain or alter and fees related to these works.
• The church must have the original invoice or copy.
• The invoice(s) should have value of at least £1000 (per annum, each church may make one claim between £500 and £1000).
• The invoice was not the subject of a previous grant award.
• The works are covered by faculty.
• Disability access works may be zero-rated; the church cannot claim for these.
• A new build for an extension or an annexe may be zero-rated.

Finally, be aware that, if the church claims for VAT on works that were not eligible in the scheme previously, and used money from a grant from a statutory agency or Lottery, the church will need to repay to that agency its share of the VAT grant.

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