Memorial on the Mall for Queen Mother

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The Independent Online

Gordon Brown went for a crowd-pleaser by announcing plans for a memorial to the Queen Mother, with tax breaks for its upkeep.

Gordon Brown went for a crowd-pleaser by announcing plans for a memorial to the Queen Mother, with tax breaks for its upkeep.

The £2m monument will stand on the Mall, the main ceremonial avenue in London leading from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace. It will be funded from the proceeds of a new coin issued to celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday on 21 April 2006. The Chancellor, who oversaw the troubled Hyde Park water feature designed to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales, discussed plans for the tribute with Buckingham Palace officials earlier this week when he outlined the Budget to the Queen in his role as Master of the Mint. "It is right to honour the life and service of the Queen Mother with a permanent memorial to her," Mr Brown said yesterday.

Vast crowds, including many elderly people, queued to pay tribute to the Queen Mother when she died, aged 101, in March 2002. The memorial announced by Mr Brown yesterday is also likely to prove popular with swing voters in his native Scotland, since the Queen Mother always considered herself Scottish, despite having being born in England.

Separately, the Chancellor announced a three-year extension of the 100 per cent VAT refund for the renovation of listed church buildings and the conservation of memorials.

Parishes spend a total of £100m a year on repairs and maintenance. Although the Church of England accounts for the vast majority of this spending, other faith groups with listed church buildings also stand to benefit from the VAT refund extension.

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