19th April 2012

BCT is concerned that the removal of VAT relief (as outlined in the March Budget Statement) on approved alterations to listed buildings will have a potential negative impact on private owners, charities and places of worship. Some listed buildings are also home to bats and UK's churches as well as being places of worship of historical and cultural importance to local communities and nationally, are also important bat habitats, providing a sanctuary for bats for hundreds of years.

We have concerns that the increased burden of additional VAT costs could mean developers and individuals consider cutting costs elsewhere, such as protected species surveys and mitigation, putting bat roosts at risk. We would welcome the opportunity to feed into discussions about extending the scope of grants made available for grant-aidable repairs. We would particularly like to see this in relation to the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme which currently provides grants towards the VAT currently paid on grant-aidable repairs.

We support English Hertiage's response particularly the need to seek clarity on a number of detailed issues with HMRC in order to make a full assessment of the impact of the proposed changes.