THE next phase of a major church restoration project in Shrewsbury will cost an extra £100,000 if controversial Government changes to VAT rates are approved.
Leaders at St Chad’s Church, on Claremont Hill, have criticised David Cameron’s Government for the proposed changes, outlined in the budget for this year.
They would see the zero VAT rating for listed buildings, including churches, being scrapped.
It means places of worship would be subject to VAT at the standard rate – hiking the cost of restoration projects by 20 per cent.
A national petition has been launched and St Chad’s leaders say the next phase of their restoration project to install a visitor centre and toilet block, due to start in the next 18 months, could now cost £600,000 instead of £500,000.
The overall fundraising campaign aims to raise £2.5 million.
David Tudor, development director at St Chad’s, said: “These are huge changes and the extra £100,000 which would be needed for the next phase of the development is horrendous and does make you stop and think whether it is worth it.”
Prof John Patrick, chairman of the Friends of St Chad’s, said: “I am dismayed by the plans which will only increase the enormity of our fundraising endeavours.”