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Churches: Finance

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will bring forward proposals to ensure that grant-making bodies for which his Department has responsibility give preference to those places of worship which donated their bells as a contribution to munitions in the Second World War in awarding grants for the replacement of church bells. (292923)

There are no plans to influence grant-giving policy in the way that is suggested. However, the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme makes grants equivalent to the VAT incurred in making repairs to places of worship that are listed buildings. Eligible works include repairs to bells, their ringing mechanisms and bell frames. Replacement of bells would only be considered under the scheme where they are damaged beyond economic repair. Another source of funding is the Heritage Lottery Fund that has awarded a total of £12,148,814 to 237 projects that have involved the repair, conservation and restoration of church bells and bell-frames throughout the UK.