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Treasury admits out of date data used in Church VAT estimates: The Church of England Newspaper, May 20, 2012 p 4. May 28, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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David Gauke MP

The government’s estimates as to the costs of the changes in VAT to the Church of England were based upon 12 year old date, Government ministers told Parliament last week.

The revelation that the government had used outdated information in calculating the impact of its proposals came in response to a question from the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Mr. Tony Baldry.

He asked the Chancellor “what estimate he has made of the revenue which will accrue to the Exchequer as a consequence of the removal of the zero VAT rate for alterations to listed buildings” and “what assessment he has made of the effect on listed places of worship of the removal of the zero VAT rate for alterations to listed buildings.”

Mr David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, responded on 30 April 2012 that a government report had set “out estimates for VAT which will be raised from approved alterations to listed buildings and a summary of impacts upon which comments are invited.”

According to the document, “Listed places of worship will also be affected by the change, although our evidence suggests that places of worship form only a small minority of the total number of listed properties in the UK.”

To “mitigate the impacts on these groups the DCMS is expanding the existing Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme which refunds the VAT on repairs and maintenance work, so that this includes approved alterations to listed buildings,” the Treasury report said.

However, no details as to the revenue which would accrue from taxing church renovations was provided in the report, though details on the tax on hair dressers’ chairs, self-storage units, and holiday caravan parks was provided.

Mr. Gauke added that “our original estimate, based on a church report produced in 2000, was that £5 million a year additional funding for the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme would be adequate compensation for listed places of worship for the impact of the VAT change. We are talking to churches and will increase this amount if there is evidence that the impact is greater.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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