St Bride's: News

Rector of St Bride's slams government over VAT proposals

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Pamela Greener, front, with Sue Murray and Carole Pickett.

The Venerable David Meara, Rector of St Bride's and Archdeacon of London has attacked the Government's proposals to increase VAT on alterations to listed buildings.

To mark his opposition, he has invited Pamela Greener, the wife of the Dean of Wakefield to perform a new 'anti VAT' "Big Society Buildings ditty" at St Bride's on Sunday 6th May. Mrs Greener's songs have become a surprise hit on YouTube attracting almost 20,000 since the first one was posted a month ago. Initially concerned with works at Wakefield Cathedral, the latest version will tackle the issue more broadly demonstrating support for churches and other listed buildings around the country and will feature the choir of St Brides as well as Mrs Greener.

Petition now closed.

St Bride's recently launched the INSPIRE! Appeal which aims to raise a minimum of £2.5 million for essential repairs to the fabric of the Grade 1 listed building in the heart of the City of London. The Church has itself committed its entire reserves for the year to the appeal and the proposed VAT rise will have a severe impact on fund-raising.

Commenting on the Government proposals, David Meara said:

"This measure, designed to stop very rich people from escaping VAT on expensive home alterations is, in fact, a clumsy measure that will be a heritage tax on the custodians of historic buildings.

"These buildings, including our churches, are part of our rich architectural heritage, and bring added value to our landscape, our economy and our social and community life.

"This tax will hit all those who use listed buildings to further their work of community building. If government is serious about supporting economic growth, localism and all those institutions who contribute to the Big Society agenda, it should be assisting, not undermining the use of listed buildings.

"We are delighted to welcome Pamela Greener to St Bride's on Sunday. As the 'parish pump' of journalists, it is an entirely appropriate place for this issue to be debated generally, quite apart from the affect it will have on our own fundraising efforts."

Watch Pamela Greener's VAT ditties:
The VAT Ditty
VAT Ditty - The Sequel

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