jump to navigation

Anglican Unscripted Episode 49, September 13, 2012 September 14, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, South Carolina.
Tags: , ,
comments closed

Kevin and George are back from news blackout break with Anglican News from around the globe. They discuss Rowan’s exit interview, South Carolina, Archbishop Duncan’s interview and Much, Much More. #AU49 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com There might even be some bloopers.

Church VAT meeting with George Osborne: The Church of England Newspaper, May 6, 2012 p 6. May 11, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Politics.
Tags: , , ,
comments closed

The Second Church Estates Commissioner and the Bishop of London have asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. George Osborne, for a “full exemption” for churches on the government’s plans to impose VAT on church alterations.

Speaking to the House of Commons on 26 April 2012, Mr. Tony Baldry said the meeting with the chancellor had been “helpful and constructive.”

The chancellor had given a “commitment to ensuring that listed places of worship would not be adversely affected by the Budget proposal, and I am sure that he will do everything he can to deliver on that commitment,” Mr. Baldry said.

The Church Commissioners were “pushing for full exemption. The listed places of worship scheme is welcome, but it is very volatile and uncertain at the moment because people are never quite clear how much they will receive back under the scheme, he said.

Mr. Baldry and Bishop Richard Chartres “made it clear why we believed it to be in the best interests of the community to continue to exempt alterations to listed places of worship from VAT. We gave the Chancellor a full written submission” and he “undertook to consider our submission carefully and made clear the Government’s commitment to ensuring that listed places of worship are not adversely affected by the Budget proposal. I anticipate a further meeting with the Chancellor and the Exchequer Secretary in due course,” the Second Church Estates Commissioner said.

The member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Simon Hughes (LD) asked if Mr. Baldry would “apply pressure” on the Government so that it understands “that simply extending the scheme’s remit to give money, when the budget has been cut, does not solve the problem, unless the rules are changed.”

Mr. Baldry concurred, saying “we are keen that the Chancellor maintains the VAT exemption for church alterations is the certainty it brings. However much money is put into the listed places of worship scheme, it has its own inherent volatility and uncertainty, and no one is sure until after the event how much the refund will be. In the last quarter, for example, only just over half of the money for the listed places of worship scheme was refunded.”

The member for Congleton, Fiona Bruce (Con.) questioned the feasibility of the government’s plans. “The Treasury has said that there will be an exemption from the new rules for contracts that have already been signed, but many churches have already undertaken ongoing works. Could there be some flexibility in that respect? Secondly, if the grant scheme is to be reviewed, could it be so over a period of several years, not just one or two years, so that there can be certainty? Works often take many years.”

Mr. Baldry stated that he agreed that it was “important to get the transitional relief right. We made it clear” to Mr. Osborne “that if he was not minded to follow us on continuing the exemption, but wanted to increase the grant under the listed places of worship scheme, we would want to see certainty over the sum, not just for this year but for a whole number of years to come.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Treasury to reimburse Church on new VAT: The Church of England Newspaper, May 4, 2012 May 11, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Politics.
Tags: , , ,
comments closed

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised to reimburse listed churches for the costs of VAT for church improvements.

Speaking in the House of Lords on 24 April 2012, Treasury minister Lord Sassoon confirmed that an agreement had been reached the previous day by the Bishop of London, the Second Church Estates Commissioner and the Chancellor, Mr. George Osborne.

“The Government are fully compensating churches for the changes in VAT,” Lord Sassoon told the Lords.  Asked how the Treasury would mitigate the £20 million in additional cost to churches in its budget proposals, Lord Sassoon said the Chancellor “made it clear” in his meeting with Bishop Richard Chartres and Tony Baldy MP “that the £5 million which the Government have committed to the listed places of worship grant scheme in the Budget is on top of the £12 million which the scheme already had.”

“We accept, having seen the churches’ numbers, that the VAT change will indeed be more than £5 million and that we need to commit more money, and discussions will continue next week to look at what the projected numbers and our commitment should be,” the minister said.

Lord Sassoon further stated that projects already underway would not be subject to the tax.

“Contracts in place on [Budget day] will retain the zero rate if the work is performed by 20 March 2013.”

In last month’s Budget, Mr Osborne announced a 20 per cent tax on alteration work on listed buildings.  The Treasury said the new tax would be imposed to remove a “glaring anomaly”, where alterations to listed building were exempt from VAT, but repair and maintenance work was not.  It was also couched in terms of fairness, with Coalition spokesmen saying it would prevent the owners of listed mansions avoiding paying VAT if they added a swimming pool.

However, the plan would also tax churches. The Bishop of Bath & Wells asked Lord Sassoon whether the government had thought through the implications of its decision, suggesting that it was at odds with its Big Society agenda.  “Of the 563 churches in my diocese, 503 are listed-some 89 per cent. Their upkeep relies almost entirely on voluntary fundraising and support from their congregations. In promoting the big society, many wish to open those buildings to wider community use. What incentive does the minister believe is being created for congregations to do so by making them pay VAT up front only to claim it back through a scheme that is not adequately funded,” the bishop asked.

Lord Sassoon responded the government did not “want to see anything that incentivises people against repairing and maintaining and therefore preserving the core heritage features of the property, so we think that it is right to put alterations, repairs and maintenance on an even basis.”

However, a spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council told ThirdSector the reimbursement scheme was not ideal. “As a sort of concession it seems the Chancellor has said expenditure on alterations, as well as repairs, will now be eligible for this scheme, and it will have some extra money,” he said.

“But it’s pretty easy for the government to get rid of public expenditure. This scheme has already got less generous since it was introduced. It’s already being used pretty much at capacity,” the spokesman said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

No gay marriage at St Paul’s Cathedral: The Church of England Newspaper, March 23, 2012, p 7. March 28, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Marriage.
Tags: , , ,
comments closed

The Dean of St Pauls, David Ison, and the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres

Dr. David Ison has backed away from a pledge to conduct same-sex blessings at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Speaking to the Times following the announcement of his appointment on 6 March 2012, Dr. Ison, the present Dean of Bradford Cathedral, endorsed the concept of gay marriage. “Marriage doesn’t belong to the Church,” he said.

The new dean said he was encouraged that gay people sought the church’s blessing for their partnerships. “As a Christian who is committed to marriage, I would say that for people to take on board, in their relationships, a commitment to lifelong chastity and being together is actually the best pattern for how to flourish if you’re going to be in a relationship… whether you’re gay or straight.

“I’m encouraged that a good number of gay people want to take on the virtues of marriage. For Christian gay people to model that kind of faithfulness, in a culture which, historically, has often been about promiscuity, is a very good thing to do,” he said.

According to the Times, Dr. Ison said he would continue to provide ceremonies to affirm and pray for homosexual couples. “The Bishops’ regulations say you can do things which are pastorally appropriate… Marriage is an institution, but the definitions of that, and how you get into it, and quite what its responsibilities are, have changed over time,” he said.

However, in an interview with the BBC’s Sunday Programme broadcast on 11 March 2012, Dr. Ison stepped back from his earlier remarks about gay blessings at St Paul’s. Asked by interviewer Edward Stourton about his views on the issues surrounding marriage, the dean said that “marriage is something which we have inherited as an institution and its meaning is defined by custom, practice, theology and law.”

“The government is trying to take a bit of a short cut in saying we just have marriage and open it to same sex couples too,” he said, adding that the Church of England was looking at the question of “how we related the church’s teaching and the doctrine of marriage to the need to be able to order, to express and to affirm gay partnerships … we need to make the virtues of marriage available to gay couples,” Dr. Ison said.

Asked if he would be “happy to conduct a gay marriage at St Pauls?” the dean responded that “there isn’t such a thing as gay marriage.”

“What I have done, once, is to pray for a couple who wanted to see Jesus Christ at the centre of their civil partnership. And I would be glad to do that with the bishop’s permission and within the framework of the guidance of the Church of England,” Dr. Ison said.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.