Exchequer Secretary David Gauke is forwarding the same ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to all MPs who raise concerns on behalf of their constituents over the Government’s proposal to withdraw VAT relief on approved alterations to listed buildings. Several copies have been forwarded to the Alliance by MPs.
Attempting to allay the fears of his colleagues’ constituents, the Minister cites:
1. The intention to increase the Listed Places of Worship Grant scheme – but as the Alliance says in its latest briefing, only 6.5% of listed buildings are religious, ritual or funerary, so where does this leave the other 93.5%?
2. Extending the six week consultation period to eight weeks - but as the Alliance points out this still breaches the Government’s own Code of Practice requiring 12 week consultations, which should take place when there is still scope to influence the polciy objecitve. The Government’s consultation achieved neither.
The Alliance continues to brief MPs, highlighting the weaknesses in the Government’s rationale, evidence and process. The Alliance is calling for a full review of the evidence before such an irreversible step is taken.