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Listed buildings tax

In last month's budget the exemption for listed buildings to pay VAT on improvements, alterations and restorations was removed. This could lead the church of England to pay and extra £20m a year.

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Church buildings will feel the impact of the VAT changes

St Brigets Chirch near Cockermouth Credit: ITV Border

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:

Archdeacon Richard Pratt Credit: ITV Border

"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."

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