Church fights VAT fees for building work

  • @andymcsmith

Church leaders will visit the Treasury today to plead with ministers not to impose VAT on alterations to listed buildings.

Ministers support the proposed reform on the grounds that current rules allow wealthy owners of listed homes to add luxuries such as indoor pools and conservatories without paying tax, while they do have to pay VAT on essential repairs.

But the Church of England says almost half of the country's listed buildings are churches, whose great age means they must be altered just to provide basic amenities people now expect, such as flushing toilets.

The Government has pledged to pay £5m towards VAT charged on work done in places of worship, but church leaders say this sum will not cover their losses.