The National Trust has today (Thursday 17 May) responded to the Government’s consultation on changes to the treatment of VAT in respect of alterations to listed buildings.
The Budget announced that the zero-rating that currently applies to approved alterations to listed buildings would be removed. The Chancellor this afternoon announced that the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme would be increased by £30 million in order to mitigate the impact of this move.
Ben Cowell, Deputy Director, External Affairs at the National Trust, said:
“The proposed VAT change in relation to listed building alterations is fundamentally misguided. Listed buildings are by definition public goods. They help to create distinctive and special places and contribute hugely to our tourist economy, which is one of the biggest creators of jobs and growth in the country. Caring for historic buildings and making them relevant to the needs of the 21st century also help to achieve significant environmental benefits.
“While no-one would pretend that the current VAT regime is straightforward, the proposal to eliminate the zero-rating for approved alterations will cause considerable harm. It is also likely to strike a major blow to the conservation industry, reducing the amount of work that is undertaken on listed buildings up and down the country.
“Increasing the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme is welcome but by itself is not enough, as it only provides retrospective compensation to help meet the needs of religious buildings and does nothing for the thousands of secular listed buildings”