Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Government VAT changes threaten our country's heritage

In this year’s Budget, the Government announced plans to charge the standard rate of VAT on approved alterations to listed buildings, including places of worship.

Alterations had previously been zero-rated, and these changes will add 20% to the cost of historic building projects. They will particularly affect the Church of England, which is responsible for 45% of the country’s Grade I listed buildings. The Church has calculated that the changes will cost them an extra £20m a year.

Listed buildings are our country's heritage - our past and our values built into bricks and mortar.

The government's plan to scrap the zero-rating for approved alterations, alterations which will allow them to continue serving their communities, threaten their future as well as their past.

In his Easter message, the Prime Minister told the nation that the values of the church make our country what it is. But this year’s Budget threatens churches across the country that serve their congregations and wider communities.

I urge the Government to reconsider.

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