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The Archdeacon of West Cumberland Richard Pratt has spoken out against the changes to the VAT exemptions for listed buildings. The extension at St Bridgets in Bridekire near Cockermouth would have cost £50,000 more under the budget changes.He said:
"Previously it was only repair work, such as to the roof, which was subject to VAT now any alteration and restoration work will also have to pay it.
We understand the government is between a rock and a hard place on this issue because of the economic climate but we fund everything ourselves through volunteers so I hope they will reconsider."
He added: "The extension here at Bridekirk probably wouldn't be here if it had to pay the tax. It cost £250,000 to build. VAT would push that figure to £300,000 so the congregation would probably still be raising the money."
In last month's budget George Osbourne removed tax exemptions for improvements, alterations and restorations on listed buildings. There are suggestions this could cost the Church of England who have 12,500 listed buildings up to £20million. Currently buildings only incur VAT on routine repair work.