Heritage VAT increase will be devastating, says CLA South EastThe CLA, whose members look after a third of all listed buildings in England and Wales, is stepping up its campaign against the Government's decision to remove the VAT zero rating on alterations to listed buildings.
The Association says the decision will hit Britain's heritage with an additional tax burden of £125million each year, jeopardising projects such as converting redundant buildings into housing and creating community buildings. It would also disrupt the continual programme of works to churches, historic houses and monuments
CLA South East Interim Regional Director Tim Brock said: "Removing this concession is likely to discourage owners from embarking on projects which will give historic buildings a viable future. This could well have devastating economic consequences not only for those who own listed buildings but also the conservation building industry, with skilled contractors losing their jobs and opportunities for employment in traditional craft skills lost. To make matters worse the change will be irreversible as it will almost certainly be illegal under EU VAT regulation to go back to zero rating however damaging the change proves.
The CLA has joined forces with other organisations including the Historic Houses Association (HHA), the Heritage Alliance, and the Cut-the-VAT Coalition to call on the Government to reverse the decision.
Having already met the Minister responsible for VAT, briefed MPs and pressed for changes to the Finance Bill, which is seeing through the Budget's proposals, the CLA believe that strong public opposition to the proposals is the next important step.
Mr Brock said: "I urge you to express your concern by email or in writing to your local MP, especially if you know of any local projects at risk or sign the online petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32056. This is clearly a revenue-raising measure that puts our heritage at risk. The effects of this tax raid will not be "negligible" as the Government claims – if you are concerned about a specific listed building project that may be jeopardised please contact the CLA South East office, 01264 722 000."
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Tim Brock is Membership Recruitment Manager South and manages a team of seven territory managers covering the South of England from Cornwall to Lincolnshire developing membership for the CLA.
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