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Places Of Worship

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 25 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what grants her Department makes to improve places of worship in need of structural repairs. [120522]

The Department administers the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, which returns in grant aid the difference between 5 per cent. and the actual amount of Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on eligible repairs and maintenance to the structure and fabric of the building. This is a demand-led scheme which has been extended to 31 March 2004. To date over £11.5 million has been paid out in grants.The Department also provides funds to English Heritage, which, jointly with the Heritage Lottery Fund, funds the Repair Grants for Places of Worship in England 2002–05. In this financial year £30 million is available in grants for urgent repairs to listed places of worship in regular use.English Heritage also runs a Cathedral Repairs Grant Scheme for Church of England and Roman Catholic Cathedrals which are listed grade I or II* and/or are situated within a conservation area. A budget of £2 million was made available for this scheme in the present financial year.