All listed places of worship will still be eligible to apply for a grant from a pot of £42 million announced by Chancellor George Osborne today. Since 2001 the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (LPWGS) fund has provided a lifeline for historically significant churches and other places of worship. It has so far paid out £171 million and through the provision of grants allowed specialist businesses such as clock makers and bell foundries to continue trading. This annual fund has now been secured for the life time of this Parliament.
In addition the Government today reaffirmed its commitment to a second round of the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund for churches requiring roof repairs to ensure church buildings can be watertight preventing further deterioration in their condition. Details of the launch of this scheme will be available soon.
Dr John Inge, lead Bishop on church buildings and Bishop of Worcester said: “We are immensely grateful to the Government for keeping these grant schemes at their present level. This will be a huge encouragement to those responsible for the maintenance of the jewels in the crown of our nation’s built heritage.”
Sir Tony Baldry, Chairman of the Church Buildings Council said: “This continued support from government is a key endorsement of the work done up and down this country at local level by communities so they can continue to use these buildings for worship and other purposes.”
Janet Gough, Director of ChurchCare, The Church Buildings Division of the Church of England said: “Maintaining the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme at £42 million per annum demonstrates the government’s appreciation of the valuable community work going on in these historic church buildings at the heart of their communities. Churches and Cathedrals will be encouraged by today’s announcement, knowing that they should be able to fulfil plans to restore, repair and equip these much loved buildings with continued support of government.”
LPWGS was set up by Gordon Brown as Chancellor in April 2001 and has paid out £171m. It dipped in 2011-12 to £12million and was further cut to just over £7.08 million. When the current Chancellor, George Osborne, introduced VAT on additions as well as repairs to listed buildings in 2012, a ChurchCare team led by The Bishop of London and Tony Baldry MP, then Second Church Estates Commissioner, petitioned the government and in response the Chancellor added £30 million on top of the existing £12 million taking, LPWGS to £42 million per annum.
About Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund
The Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund was set up in December 2014, with £15million set aside by the Government to enable repair works to be undertaken to the roofs and rainwater disposal systems of listed places of worship. The Fund was subsequently extended in the 2015 Budget, with an additional £15million allocated for the initial round and £25million set aside for a second round that will open at the end of 2015.
The aim of the scheme is to allow works to take place that will ensure that the building is weather-tight, and prevent further deterioration of the fabric of the listed building. This will allow the buildings to remain safe and open to the public for worship and other community use.
For more information see:
ChurchCare, the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division, is the Church of England’s national resource, supporting the conservation and development of the Church of England’s 16,000 parish churches and 42 cathedrals for worship, mission and community engagement. ChurchCare provides information on funding sources open to churches and cathedrals, and more details about additional Government funding, as this becomes available, will be found at: http://www.churchcare.co.uk/
Approximately 12,000 of the Church of England’s 16,000 parish churches are listed.